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Mike Handzelek's NFL Week 6 Analysis/Review/Notes/Power Rankings

By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Oct 19, 2021
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Monday, October 18, 2021 Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans (NFL) - 8:15 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 6.5/-110 Tennessee Titans Rating: 8* Mike's MNF Smart Play (WIN) The 4-1 SU Buffalo Bills (1st place-AFC East) are playing the best football in the NFL since Week 2 as they've out-scored their opponents 156-41 their last 4 games. I'm not trying to bust the Bills' Mafia bubble, I just report the facts. It's pretty pertinent to mention their 4 wins were against teams with a collective SU record of 6-14 entering Week 6. It's hard to believe it's been 22 seasons (they changed their nickname from Oilers to Titans that year) since the "Music City Miracle" @ Adelphi Stadium when Tennessee TE Frank Wycheck threw a cross-field lateral pass to Kevin Dyson who went 75 yards for a TD (3 seconds were left in the game) that resulted in a 22-16 AFC Wild Card win. I personally felt that Bills' HC Wade Phillips benching of a red-hot Doug Flutie (got them to the playoffs) for Rob Johnson was a mistake from the start. For this game, this line is WAY out of whack! The last time the Titans were a home underdog of MORE than 6, you would be in Week 16 of 2012 versus Indianapolis (when they were +7 & lost 27-10) under HC was Ken Whisenhunt (who went 2-14 SU that year). These 2 played last year on a Tuesday night (rescheduled because of Tennessee COVID protocols) in Week 5 @ this venue. Even though Buffalo was off 9 days rest, the Titans came out with a surprising 42-16 victory. It'll be interesting to see if Titans' OC Todd Downing uses similar offensive schemes with weird formations & overloaded wideouts to eventually free-up RB Derrick Henry. Let's see how QB Ryan Tannehill performs when the Bills' safeties come up. WR's A.J. Brown & Julio Jones should be a go for him. Remember, earlier this line had Buffalo pegged as just a 2 1/2-point favorite. The public & mushes are banking on the Bills playing like last week when they won @ KC 38-20 (they were +4 in TO's that game & now +11 in TO differential for the year). The price on Buffalo is very high based on the facts people are banking on them to extend their 12-1 ATS record in REGULAR season games as well as QB Josh Allen being a solid 16-6 ATS on the road in his short career. My bottom line says this game is seeing which DC (B--Leslie Frasier or T--Shane Bowen) can create enough QB pressures & sacks that turn into TO's. This game also represents my 60-90 exhausted roadie system. It came into play when the NY Jets upset the Titans in OT 27-24 just 2 weeks ago. It applies in this game with a play AGAINST the Bills. Numbers ALSO reveal Buffalo has a tough time duplicating intensity after playing KC. Buffalo is 2-12 ATS the past 14 in the game following but a perfect 0-8 if their opponent has a winning percentage of 57% or above. With 2-pt. attempts & conversions factored in, let's go to Nashville's Nissan Stadium to play the TENNESSEE TITANS (buying to + 8 1/2) as my 8* MNF Smart Play! Sunday, October 17, 2021 Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers (NFL) - 1:00 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -130 Minnesota Vikings Rating: 10* Mike's 10 Star NFL Desperate Roadie (WIN) This game has trouble written all over it for 3-2 SU Carolina. Not having all-purpose RB Christian McCaffrey in the lineup severely handicaps QB Sam Darnold's (with a 6/6 TD/INT ratio) play-action game. Even with McCaffrey in the lineup most of the time, the Panthers are still a very weak 4-10-1 ATS @ home their last 15. I feel psychologically Darnold wants to force the issue & get it done by himself. Thus, we've seen this the past 2 weeks when he's thrown 5 INT's as a result of ill-advised & inaccurate throws. INT's are an important category when it comes to figuring out W's & L's where Darnold's is concerned. He's thrown 2+ INT's his last 2 games & has a O'Line that's 22nd in protecting the QB. When he's done that in his career (2+ INT's), his team stands @ a perfect 0-12 SU. The Norsemen had their flat game last week @ home versus Detroit. They were lucky enough to stretched their record to 2-3 SU by virtue of a Greg Joseph 54-yard FG @ the buzzer. I feel Minnesota is getting a bad rap since they were very unfortunate in their 1st 2 roadies they should have won (they've lost 3 games by a total of 11 points). Co-DC's Andre Patterson & Adam Zimmer are getting pressure from the edges & rank 2nd in the NFL (1 behind Chicago) in sacks with 17. My bottom line looks on the flip side of the ball where many over-stress that Carolina is ranked #1 in pass defense in the NFL. Further examination reveals that NYJ's Zach Wilson, NO's Jameis Winston, Houston's backup Davis Mills & Philly's Jalen Hurts aren't exactly the NFL's QB elite throwing 3 TD's collectively. The other game they faced Dallas QB Dak Prescott who threw 4 TD's versus them in Week 4 (& took their foot off the gas with a big lead). This week they'll get 10-year vet Kirk Cousins whose completing an excellent 70% of his passes & has a nifty 10/2 TD/INT ratio. I love the fact that the Purple People Eaters come in the more desperate squad & are 9th in scoring defense (held Cleveland to 14 points). With the week's line movement, let's go to Charlotte's Bank Of America Stadium to play the MINNESOTA VIKINGS as my 10 Star NFL Desperate Roadie! Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns (NFL) - 4:05 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -155 Cleveland Browns Rating: 9* Mike's NFL Inter-Conference Identifier (LOSS) Guys, I've said it many times as the NFL usually implies "Not For Long" when it applies to winning streaks. The NFL is majorly popular because of the fact that anyone could pull an upset or surprise any given day. Last week we had no business losing by a 1/2-point on Cleveland after their 40+ points, 500+ total yards & no TO game. In fact, the last 50+ years NFL teams were 401-0 in that situation entering into last week. They take on an undefeated 5-0 SU Cardinals' squad that hadn't gone 5-0 since 1974 (when they went 7-0 when in St. Louis under HC Don "Air" Coryell when he had such playmakers like QB Jim Hart, RB's Terry Metcalf & Jim Otis along with WR Mel Gray & TE Jackie Smith. Even though this year's rendition has a quality win @ the Los Angeles Rams' home venue, they did get 3 of 5 victories against losing teams. The Brownies have some revenge heading into this for a 34-20 setback they took 2 seasons ago @ Arizona. I love the fact that Cleveland with QB Baker Mayfield has had much success of late in non-conference tilts going a perfect 6-0 ATS the last 1+ seasons. There's a few areas where I feel Arizona is in trouble here. One, you have the #1 rushing offense in the league in the Browns (with still 1 RB & game-changer Kareem Hunt in the lineup-Nick Chubb is out) versus the 2nd worst yards per rush defense of the Cardinals. Second, you have a very familiar DC in Joe Woods who was DB Coach @ SF when Kyler Murray entered the league 2 seasons ago. His 4-3 scheme is geared to neutralize Murray which is exactly what SF's successful blue-print did last week in limiting Zona' to 304 total yards & 17 points. My bottom line says the analytics say 3-2 SU (like Cleveland) have a 50% chance of making the playoffs. They know this game is a must-win before their short-week Thursday home game with Denver immediately on deck. This contest is also a game off a divisional home win for Arizona. The last 5 times in this situation has seen the Red & Black go a perfect 0-5 SU & 1-4 ATS. Let's see how the void of OLB & team-leader in sacks Chandler Jones (in COVID protocol) affects the way the Cardinals' run their schemes. Let's go to First Energy Stadium in Ohio to play the CLEVELAND BROWNS as my 9* NFL Inter-Conference Identifier! NOTES: Finally a HC like Mike Vrabel who got his troops ready & primed as the Titans got the ground game running at around 7 yards a pop with Derrick Henry rushing for 143 yards & 3 TD's. The Tennessee "D" won the sack wars 3-0 & was 3-for-3 in red zone efficiency (Buffalo 2-for-5). Having A.J. Brown & Julio Jones healthy is a BIG plus! The Vikes blew a late 11-point 4th quarter lead but still came through in OT thanks to the arm of Kirk Cousins who passed for 373 yards & a 3/0 TD/INT ratio. I thought winning the turnover war 3-1 was enough to bag it in regulation but we'll take it. However, I was severely disappointed in Cleveland HC Kevin Stefanski as his team seemed lost throughout. They had the proper blueprints laid out by SF last week on how to neutralize Murray but Joe Wood's troops couldn't execute. We'll take a 2-1 week anytime but thought it was 3-0 with locker room prep. My pre-Week 7 NFL Power Rankings are as follows: 1) Arizona Cardinals -- Earned another quality win on the road & has a return game @ SF in Wk. 9. 2) Los Angeles Rams -- A dominating win but will have an interesting meeting with Tennessee home in Week 9) 3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- They have extra rest for Chicago & let's see how they handle NO this year in Week 8. 4) Buffalo Bills -- They're still elite but were in a bad spot Monday. They have a Thanksgiving night game @ NO. 5) Baltimore Ravens -- Their stock is climbing & will have Cincy home in Week 7. 6) Green Bay Packers -- They had a closer win than the score in Chicago. They'll be tested on Thursday of Wk. 8 @ Arizona. 7) Dallas Cowboys -- After their late heroics in NE, they embrace their bye week. 8) Tennessee Titans -- Excellent win Monday for them but let's see how their healthy receiving corp does versus KC in Week 7. 9) New Orleans -- Their stock will rise if they hold serve @ Seattle on MNF. 10) Los Angeles Chargers -- They were victim of my 60-90 system Sunday. They should handle NE in Wk. 7. 11) Kansas City Chiefs -- We'll know them better the next 3 weeks with games with Tennessee & Green Bay. 12) Cincinnati Bengals -- We'll find how tough they are in Baltimore Week 7. 13) Las Vegas Raiders -- Earned a Top 14 bid but let's watch that Philly meeting in Wk. 7. 14) Cleveland Browns -- They barely made it but by default. Denver & Pittsburgh games are must-wins for a team without a backfield. Near-Misses: Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, Chicago bears, Denver Broncos & Pittsburgh Steelers. Thanks to all my loyal subscribers & followers who understand the process. Mike Handzelek's Week 6 Record: 2-1 for 67% Mike Handzelek's 2021-22 NFL Overall Record: 10-8 for a rising 56%

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