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Mike Handzelek's Week 9 NFL Analysis/Review/Notes/Look-Aheads


By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Nov 8, 2018
   
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Monday, November 05, 2018 Tennessee Titans vs. Dallas Cowboys (NFL) - 8:15 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -208 Dallas Cowboys Rating: 7* Mike's Monday Night Football Smart Play (LOSS) Don't get me wrong because I was searching for the right reasons to take the Titans & the points. My search finally turned up futile! I know the Cowboys JUST obtained WR Amari Cooper from the Raiders & he needs some time to acclimate himself to the offense. However, his presence alone gives Dallas an added dimension of stretching the field & making it pretty difficult for Cover-type defenses to properly cover most areas. Where's Tom Brady when you need one? He's certainly NOT QB'in tonight. Enter QB Dak Prescott (1,417 yards passing, 62% completions, 8/4 TD/INT ratio, sacked 23 times for a 87.4 QBR) who who has a pretty dangerous dual-threat in team MVP RB Ezekiel Elliott (619 rushing yards 2nd in NFL, 4.7 YPC, 3 TD's, 25 receptions for 175 yards & 1 TD). This offense has performed excellent @ home going 3-0 SU & scoring a shade under 29 PPG (33 PPG the last 2) @ this venue. They now take on a desperate Tennessee team that's only averaged 15 PPG in games away from Nissan Stadium in Nashville. This team is going to live & die with 4th-year QB Marcus Mariota (1,030 passing yards, 66% completions, 3/5 TD/INT ratio, sacked 19 times for a low 78.5 QBR). Mariota & Co. 30th-ranked offense now faces the 3rd-ranked defense in the NFL that gives up less than 15 PPG @ home. Mariota hasn't been sharped since injuring his elbow in Miami back in Week 1. He's complained of numbness in his throwing hand. There's been TOO MANY distractions to be consistent. I also feel the loss (for the season) of key TE Delanie Walker is felt more & more each week. The Titans will be played heavily tonight just like the Jags were 3 weeks ago @ this venue. Remember, this is still the SAME TEAM that went to Buffalo & lost! My bottom line says the Cowboys are fresh & expect DC Rod Marinelli to dial-up pressure from his 4-3 alignment that'll be led by LDE Demarcus Lawrence whose 7 sacks the last 5 home contests presents a gigantic problem for the immobile Mariota. Tennessee's rookie HC Mike Vrabel has a good "D" as well but making that decision to go for 2 in London was NOT the call win or lose. It's also going to be tough winning games by throwing a total of 5 TD passes in 7 games played. I'll leave you with 2 daggers! Numbers clearly show the host in Titan games is 16-5-1 ATS as well as the chalk in Cowboy games being a solid 12-4-1 versus the number. Let's go to AT&T Stadium in Arlington to play the DALLAS COWBOYS to win as my Monday Night Smart Play! Sunday, November 04, 2018 Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins (NFL) - 1:00 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -130 Washington Redskins Rating: 8* Mike's NFL Earlybird Dependable (LOSS) The mushes are talking about how the Falcons are rested & ready to make a second-half run this season. Really? Based on what? Yes, the Dirty Birds have QB Matt Ryan with a brilliant 15/2 TD/INT ratio & high 114.2 QBR. His leading receiver is still Julio Jones whose hauled in 53 catches for 812 yards in just 7 games. The key stat here is Jones hasn't caught a TD pass this season. The bulk of Atlanta's TD passes (6) have been thrown to WR Calvin Ridley. The problem with the Falcons has been playing on grass against good teams. They've played @ Philadelphia (when their defense was healthy) & lost 18-12. Four weeks later in Week 5 they travelled to Pittsburgh (with injuries) & got trampled 41-17. Their 3rd away game on grass (averaging just 14.5 PPG) is right here against a Washington team that's ranked in the top 4 in overall defense (21 sacks, 6 INT's) & are the best in the NFL against the run. If Ryan expects to milk the clock, they'll have to establish a ground game & without injured RB Devonta Freeman. However, that's been a problem thus far as they come in ranked 30th in that category. Atlanta is 3-4 SU but are coming off home wins versus teams with a combined 4-11 SU record (Tampa Bay & the NY Giants). Even though they squeaked past the NYG 23-20, they were out-gained by Eli & Co. who amassed 433 total yards versus a banged-up "D" (the Falcons have multiple injuries @ safety). Enter the Redskins' offense. Their QB is game-manager type Alex Smith (1,561 passing yards, 8/2 TD/INT ratio, 63% completions, 91.3 QBR). Smith has a bevy of receivers but his bread n' butter man is none other than Adrian Peterson. Peterson looks revitalized this season as he's rushed for 587 yards (4.6 YPC & 4 TD's) & has 151 yards in receptions (16.8 YPC & 1 TD). My bottom line says Washington is a different team this season (5-2 SU - best start since 2008) with a defense that's yielded less than 19 PPG thus far. They now play with triple revenge against Georgia's Finest who are literal no-shows going 1-11 ATS (3-19-1 ATS over the long haul) coming off back-to-back wins & facing a team with a better SU record. Look for the Skins' "O" to control the clock going up against a Dirty Birds' "D" yielding a very high 54.1% 3rd-down conversion rate. The dagger for us looks @ some home cooking as Washington has covered 6 of its last 7 @ this venue. Let's make way to FedEx Field in Landover to play the WASHINGTON REDSKINS as my NFL Earlybird Dependable! Los Angeles Chargers vs. Seattle Seahawks (NFL) - 4:05 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 1.5/-115 Los Angeles Chargers Rating: 7* Mike's NFL Public Missed Perception Play (WIN) The mushes are showing WAY too much love for (4-3 SU) Seattle this week! Who have they beaten? Dallas, Arizona, Oakland & Detroit represent 4 losing teams with a combined record of 9-21! The Seahawks SU record versus winning teams currently sits @ 0-2 with their 3rd chance today. I predicate this pick based on the fact that the best player on the field (my estimation) is Los Angeles RB Melvin Gordon III. Gordon has been a force when healthy as he's rushed for 466 yards @ 5.1 YPC & 6 TD's. He's played a big role receiving as well with 30 catches for 279 receiving yards & 3 more TD's. RB Austin Ekeler (2nd year out of Western State) has provided great relief as well with 305 yards rushing to go along with an impressive 5.8 yards a pop. He's also caught 19 passes for 233 yards & 3 TD's. Their QB Philip Rivers (making his 200th consecutive regular season start-4th QB to do so besides the Mannings & leader Favre with 297) is having a year he's been striving to get for quite awhile. His 17/3 TD/INT ratio, 69% completions, 2,008 passing yards, sacked only 9 times & a 117.8 QBR (ranked 2nd) is actually higher than Brady, Rodgers or Brees to this point. He now takes on a Seattle club that's as good as QB Russell Wilson (16/4 TD/INT ratio, 1,556 passing yards, sacked 21 times & a 112.8 QBR) performs. Wilson has 2 good runners in Chris Carson (457 rushing yards, 4.4 YPC & 2 TD's) & Mike Davis (226 rushing yards, 4.3 YPC & 3 TD's) but can't compete with LA's backfield in YPC or in receiving yards (123 yards & 0 TD's combined). Remember, Seattle beat 4 losing teams & still rank 26th in total offense (Chargers are 6th)! My bottom line says Rivers isn't making mistakes as usual thus far. Without 3 takeaways versus Detroit last week, would HC Pete Carroll's bunch still have registered that "W"? Let's look @ some key numbers. If you go back to early last season to the present, you'll find Rivers & Co. have accumulated a 14-5 SU record. Since the middle of last year, the Seahawks have gone a mediocre 8-8 SU. I've been watching these close battles between these 2 old AFC West rivals since the 70's. It was fun to watch @ Jack Murphy Stadium or @ the King Dome HC Don "Air" Coryell with QB Dan Fouts, RB Chuck Muncie, WR Wes Chandler, WR Charlie Joiner & TE Kellen Winslow go up against HC "Ground" Chuck Knox (my dad's roommate in college @ Juniata) who had decent weapons as well with QB Jim Zorn, RB Curt Warner & WR Steve Largent. With today's matchup, look for OC Ken Whisenhunt to play ball control with lower-risk play calls for Rivers to keep the clock moving. Seattle's 4-3 SU record is LARGELY due to a +10 in turnover differential. The second half is where LA shines after making KEY adjustments in the locker room. After digging deep into the numbers, they show this is predominately a DOG series that's given the pup 9 ATS wins of the last 10 including 7 straight. Here's some key DAGGERS! The first dagger for us has to the Seahawks being 1-4 ATS the last 5 in November. Add to it a team over-priced 2 home going 1-5 @ home to close out last season. The final dagger has to be LA's spring back ATS after losing a game to the number. They've come back to go an under-estimated 6-2 their last 8 chances. I'm not buying the home team only playing hard for recently-departed owner Paul Allen. Why? Because the Chargers are doing the same since long-time owner Alex Spanos ALSO died in the past month. What about the 12th man? Rivers must like them since he passed for 455 yards his last visit here! Let's go to CenturyLink Field to plat the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (buying to a key + 3 1/2) as my NFL Public Missed Perception Play! NOTES/LOOK-AHEADS: It's been a 2nd consecutive mushy kind of week. How mushy? The estimated losses of the Nevada sports books hovered around the $7 million mark. I was a disappointing 1-2 as Washington's 3 injured offensive linemen did us in offensively as 4-4 SU Atlanta shined with no answers from the Skins' throughout. Expect the Falcons' "D" to be beefed up by a few transactions as they try to continue a run @ an NFC Wild Card spot (Minnesota 5-3-1 SU). The Cowboys' 3 HC's (1 current-2 former, Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan & Rod Marinelli) were clearly out-coached by Tennessee's rookie HC Mike Vrabel & DC Dean Pees as Dallas couldn't build a big lead in the 1st & didn't make ANY second-half adjustments after the break. They still haven't found a way to properly utilize RB Ezekiel Elliott like the Steelers' (395 yards Sunday versus a tough Baltimore "D" on the road) successes with Le'Veon Bell & James Conner. The Los Angeles Chargers 6-2 SU didn't need the points for us as they beat Seattle in their house outright. Kudos goes out to OC Ken Whisenhunt as QB Philip Rivers (3 INT's in 8 games) has figured out how to stay close to turnover-free & its paid BIG dividends. They can go 9-2 before a key Week 13 game @ Pittsburgh a month from now. On other fronts, it looks like the almost injury-free Saints could be Atlanta-bound on February 3rd if they can figure how to score a bevy of points in the playoffs behind their amazing 17th-year veteran QB Drew Brees. It remains to be seen what WR Dez Bryant has left (just signed a 1-year contract) with New Orleans. It's November & it's time once again to hear what the late, great, long-time announcer John Facenda's thinks about NFL teams' playoff hopes. In look-aheads, some interesting games to watch are: Carolina @ Pittsburgh, New Orleans @ Cincinnati, New England @ Tennessee, Seattle @ L.A. Rams & Dallas @ Philadelphia. The mushes have had their mini-run. Expect Week 10 to return to status quo for us as legitimate playoff teams rise to the occasion & start separating from the pack. Let's climb up the ladder with them. Mike Handzelek's 2018-19 NFL Overall Seasonal Record: 14-6 for a stellar 70%
 


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