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Home / Articles / Mike Handzelek's NFL Week 4 Analysis/Review/Notes/Power Rankings

Mike Handzelek's NFL Week 4 Analysis/Review/Notes/Power Rankings

By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Oct 5, 2021
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Monday, October 04, 2021 Las Vegas Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers (NFL) - 8:15 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -160 Los Angeles Chargers Rating: 9* 9* Shootin' From The Hip MNF Firestarter (WIN) I'm not expecting the Chargers to come out flat after their 30-24 upset road win over Kansas City. Why? Because they take on a Las Vegas squad that's more than fortunate to be 3-0 (best start since 2002) SU right now. They could very easily be 0-3. Yes, their 3 games were that close. It's actually Los Angeles that should be 3-0. I don't see the home-standing Chargers losing 2 in a row @ home. The analytics say the Chargers not only are a BIG 3.5-pt. upgrade in Power Ratings but also a 11.6 PPG upgrade in Effective Defensive Scoring. Look for Raiders' QB Derek Carr (on turf) to not have that same success against the L.A. secondary he enjoyed the 1st 3 weeks. I think the better QB is on the Chargers' side with Justin Herbert (2020 Offensive Rookie Of The Year) who has a strong 37/13 TD/INT ratio since taking over the job LY). Remember, he's just settling in & looking more comfortable with the schemes of OC Mike Lombardi & Passing Game Coordinator Shane Day. Herbert will execute some payback for a 31-26 loss @ this venue last year. With Cleveland & Baltimore immediately on deck, we'll definitely get L.A.'s "A" game here! Herbert has 3 great weapons in WR's Keenan Allen & Mike Williams plus RB Austin Ekeler. On defense, new DC Renaldo Hill will run a 4-3 defensive scheme using a man-heavy "D" using 2 high safeties (sometimes 3 if S Derwin James, Jr. is rushing the passer). Check James' status before game time. This is a change from ex-DC Gus Bradley's (now LV's DC) "D" that was zone-heavy with a single-high safety. Even though the Chargers went 7-9 last season, they've won 6 out of their last 7 regular season games SU (their only blemish was a 20-17 setback to Dallas 2 weeks ago). This play is a systems play I devised a few decades ago that involves teams scoring 90 or more points in 3 consecutive weeks. The strongest system says to to take L.A. when installed as divisional favorites of 1 or more if off a SU win & facing an opponent off a SU win. The last 9 instances have seen the Chargers cover all 9 times! Let's jet out to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood to play the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS as my 9* Shootin' From The Hip MNF Firestarter! Sunday, October 03, 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers (NFL) - 4:25 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 6/-105 Pittsburgh Steelers Rating: 9* Mike's Later Game Steam Play (LOSS) Let's not over-estimate 2 things. The first one is the Pittsburgh offense. Yes, Steel City is dead last in rushing offense. But they were bottom 5 in that same category last year & finished the regular season 12-4 SU. The second thing is Green Bay's net production. After 3 games, the Cheeseheads are a -35 in net yards. There are many analytics for this game pointing directly @ the Steelers. I feel the value is on their side considering the Pack has covered 4 out of the last 5 regular season games ATS. On defense, both are close with GB 9th overall & Pitt 13th. On offense, Lafleur's bunch ranks 21st in passing offense but Tomlin's crew is much higher @ 13th. I'm expecting a lower scoring game unlike the last time we saw Aaron Rodgers play the Black N' Gold in the regular season. In 2009, we saw Steel Town win it @ home 37-36. I'm ALSO expecting new OC Matt Canada will run his "11 personnel" offensive package (which 1 RB & 1 TE) much less than 82% of his play calls. That amount represents close to 30% higher than the NFL norm. Other numbers show October is the time Pittsburgh wakes up. Since 1992, they're a super-solid 68-37 versus the number. This matches up nicely with GB actually under-achieving when @ home versus poor passing defenses. Lines are over-adjusted in this given situation as the Packers are a lackluster 16-34 ATS. While the Steelers have failed @ home in the first 2 favorite roles, they did cover & win on the road beating a very good Buffalo squad 23-16. Guess what? Here they are back again in that cozy role of road underdog. No matter the personnel, Pitt excels as traveling barkers going 12-3 ATS (80%) their last 15 & 6-1 ATS as a non-conference road dog. My bottom line points toward Pittsburgh as well when they play non-conference battles. The last 12 times versus the number versus the NFC have seen them take home the cash in 9 (75%). The dagger for us looks @ situations where the Steelers take on team off back-to-back SU wins. When HC Mike Tomlin (career) takes his team on the road versus teams off back-to-back SU wins, he's gone a take-me-to-the-window 14-2 ATS! Similar numbers can be found with QB Ben Roethlisberger. When Big Ben is installed as an away dog versus a team off back-to-back SU wins, he's had an even higher yield going 17-3-1 (83%). Remember, this line has been compensated for with Pitt's WLB T.J. Watt missing from their 3-4 defensive alignment. Let's go to legendary Lambeau Field to play the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (buying to + 7 1/2) as my 9* Later Game Steam Play! Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos (NFL) - 4:25 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 1/-110 Denver Broncos Rating: 10* Mike's NFL Public Missed Perception Play (LOSS) The mushes are SUPER over-playing that Denver hasn't played anybody (beat the Giants 27-13 on the road, won @ the Jaguars 23-13 & whacked the Jets @ home 26-0). Yeah, but they're not the schedule makers. This team is far from a fluke. There's several things I like about this game. The Ravens are on the road for the 3rd time in 4 weeks. That's significant because their 1st 2 games were grueling having to go to Las Vegas to lose in OT 33-27 before coming home to upset the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs 36-35. Those games took a lot out of them. This was clearly evident when they struggled @ Detroit last week & barely survived 19-17 (ironically NO's Tom Dempsey also beat the Lions 19-17 in 70' @ Tulane Stadium with a record 63-yard FG) after a miraculous NFL record-breaking 66-yard FG by Justin Tucker (hit the bottom cross bar & flipped through). Why so close of a game versus the lowly 0-3 SU Lions? Because Ravens' QB Lamar Jackson (back problems) is playing hurt. His flashiness was lacking as the Detroit game pressed on in a game where he wound up throwing 16-for-31 with 1 INT & sacked 4 times. Don't rule out seeing backup Tyler Huntley being inserted for Harbaugh's Heroes who could very easily be 1-2 SU without Tucker. On the other side of the ball, the Baltimore "D" is on the decline (gave up 752 passing yards the 1st 2 weeks). It ranks 24th overall, 30th in passing "D", 4th worst in the NFL in Effective Defensive Scoring (4.7 PPG higher) & 2nd worst in Effective Defensive Yards Per Play (1.09 YPP higher). No one seems to be talking about who they'll be facing? Yep, it's Teddy "Two Gloves" Bridgewater whose quietly compiled (with Minnesota, New Orleans, Carolina & Denver) a still-doubted 38-13-1 ATS record as a starter. That's good for an out-of-this-world 74%! Under the direction of QB's Coach Mike Shula, he's thrown for 827 yards, 77% completions with a 4/0 TD/INT ratio. Local Scranton Central product who played for Penn State & the Houston Oilers, offensive lineman Mike Munchak is also their O-Line Coach. However, the true story is on the other side of the ball. HC Vic "On The Hot Seat" Fangio (played & coached @ Dunmore High School, PA) along with his DC Ed Donatell have a swarming 3-4 defensive scheme (similar to DC Joe Collier's Orange Crush "D" of 77' fame) that's registered 8 sacks, 4 INT's & is #1 in scoring "D". I fell OLB Von Miller is playing with a chip & will continue to be a high-impact payer (leads team with 4 sacks) in a year that could be his last in Denver. My bottom line says numbers don't lie! Besides his career ATS figures, Bridgewater is also a take-me-to-the-window 21-6 versus the number off a SU win & an even-better 15-2 ATS out of his division. The Database Dagger zeroes in on 3-0 SU teams. In Game 4, these undefeated teams don't take a back seat if paired 2 home with a non-divisional opponent. In this given situation, they're a pristine 15-1 ATS! Let the public fall in love with the banged-up Ravens all they want & grab the short price. We're doing the contrary with a team that's fresher, motivated, more healthy & have the altitude advantage that should take over in the end. For a later Sunday tilt, let's groove to Empower Field @ Mile High to play the DENVER BRONCOS +1 with a lot of pasta on the ML as my 10 Star NFL Public Missed Perception Play! NOTES: It was a tough losing week after seeing a Pittsburgh return for a TD called back & an early Teddy Bridgewater injury kill our chances for the 10 Star. However, it was an excellent rebound being spot on with the L.A. Chargers on MNF. Their lone loss to the Cowboys is giving Dallas worth. Many changes this week so let's get right into my NFL Power Rankings. 1) Arizona Cardinals (they earned it) 2) Los Angeles Rams (still a force to be reckoned with) 3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (just a doink away from being 2-2) 4) Buffalo Bills (could make a statement @ KC) 5) Baltimore Ravens (Jackson surprisingly good through the air) 6) Green Bay Packers (jury is still out-@ Arizona Week 8) 7) Dallas Cowboys (still gauging this team) 8) Cleveland Browns (will be tested @ L.A.) 9) Los Angeles Chargers (big matchup with Cleveland) 10) Kansas City Chiefs (all eyes on game with Buffalo) 11) Seattle Seahawks (will know what they're made of this Thursday) 12) San Francisco 49ers (out of the frying pan & into the fire @ Arizona) 13) Cincinnati Bengals (will see if they're for real versus GB) 14) Denver Broncos (Does this team struggle if Bridgewater is out?) --- Just Missed - Las Vegas Raiders (still a lot to still prove), Carolina Panthers (Can they win without McCaffrey?), Tennessee Titans (they hold a shaky lead in the AFC South which looks like the NFC Least from last year @ a collective 4-12), New Orleans Saints (best Jekyll & Hyde team in the NFL) Mike Handzelek's 2021-22 NFL Overall Record: 6-6 for a pedestrian 50%

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