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Mike's NFL Week 1 Analysis/Review

By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Sep 13, 2021
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Sunday, September 12, 2021 Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams (NFL) - 8:20 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: -7/-119 Los Angeles Rams Rating: 8* Mike's NFL Earlybird Dependable (WIN) Backing this solid team for early Sunday is the best direction to take when it comes to the NFL's Week 1 of uncertainty. What is certain is Chicago's opening day record before beating the Lions 27-23 last year. That record would be 0-6! The only other team records the past 7 seasons that were that poor were the Colts (0-7), the Browns (0-6-1) & the Giants (1-6). For this one, HC Matt Nagy has given the starting QB job to Andy "Red Rifle" Dalton. His last 25 starts have produced 6-19 SU & 9-16 ATS records. Dalton will be facing a L.A. Rams defense that finished 1st in the NFL in scoring defense, passing defense & total defense. DC Raheem Morris employs mostly a 3-4 defensive scheme that consistently dials up pressure. 7-time Pro-Bowler & DT Aaron Donald has to be double-teamed in order to keep him from completely taking over. Donald's 85.5 career sacks is 2nd all-time for the Rams (Leonard Little had 87.5) on a team that finished 1st in the NFC in sacks last season. Other analytical breakdowns have shown Da Bears not covering as dogs of 5 or more going 1-7 versus the number as well as a ticket-ripping 8-18 ATS on Sunday nights. My bottom line says the intangible of playing for the 1st time in front of loud So-Fi crowd cannot be over-estimated. This is especially true versus a Monster From The Midway offense that ranked 26th last season. Even though L.A. lost 2nd-year RB Cam Akers to a torn Achilles, they immediately grabbed Sony Michel from NE. Crunching key numbers & systems have revealed the Rams were 2-4 SU in season openers before HC Sean McVay turned it into 4-0 since taking over the reins. It's been a home field advantage the past 6 as the hosts have gone 5-1 in head-to-head meetings. Chicago is just 1-5 ATS the last 6 versus the NFC & 1-4 ATS of late & 7-14 versus the number the past 4 seasons as a road dog. Los Angeles has beaten the Bears @ home the past 2 seasons by 17-7 & 24-10 scores. We'll see if new L.A. QB Matthew Stafford (ex-Lions' QB) can blend into McVay's complex offensive schemes. Stafford had a 11-9 SU versus Chicago when with lowly Detroit & has a grasp on what OC Bill Lazor will throw @ the defense. Look for the Rams -6 in turnover differential to rebound to the plus side. The countdown starts on when Nagy feels it's the right time for inserting rookie QB Justin Fields (Ohio State). My X-Factor is a MONEY system that fits like a glove here. It states: Play against an NFL away team in the 1st game of the season IF they made the playoffs & had 9 or less wins the previous season. The past 20 seasons have seen these teams go 2-12 SU & a no-show 1 -13 ATS! Let's go So-Fi Stadium in Inglewood to play the LOS ANGELES RAMS (buying to -2 1/2) as my NFL Earlybird Dependable. Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots (NFL) - 4:25 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -170 New England Patriots Rating: 8* Mike's NFL Consistent Avenger Play (LOSS) Even though Week 1 has to be one of the most-challenging weeks in the NFL, there's at least 1 play that stands out from the crowd of uncertainty. This one pits rookie QB Mack Jones against 2nd-year QB Tua Tagovailoa. It was Jones who took over for the injured Tagovailoa back in Week 8 of October 2019 when Alabama defeated Arkansas 48-7. HC Bill Belichick expects Jones can provide offensive balance after the 20-21' season saw the Tea Men come in 30th in passing offense. There's no doubt that the addition of former DC Matt Patricia back on the staff will improve a run defense that finished 26th in the Patriots' 1st losing season (7-9) since 2000 (5-11). What did New England improve? Well, for starters they spent $160 million to revamp their lineups. I feel getting back several key players who opted out last season will get this team to the playoffs once again. Yes, CB Stephone Gilmore is out for NE. However, Hoodie & Co. still rule in the trenches on BOTH sides of the ball. I think the biggest gap is comparing the O-lines where the Pats are 4th & Miami 28th. There's also a matter of revenge for NE since it was the Dolphins who officially knocked them out of the playoffs last year with a 22-12 December win @ Hard Rock Stadium. Against a weaker "D" then, Tua passed for just 145 yards, was sacked twice, had a 0/1 TD/INT ratio & completed his longest pass for just 15 yards. A key cog to his offense won't be in the lineup this week with WR Wil Fuller serving his 6th week of a 6-week suspension for violating the performance-enhancing substances policy. Tagovailoa now faces a drastically changed "D" with MLB Dont'a Hightower & OLB Kyle Van Noy opting BACK along with additions OLB & Edge-Rusher Matthew Judon (came over from Baltimore & signed a 4-year, 54.5 million contract) & DT's Christian Barmore & Davon Godchaux. On offense, look for OC Josh McDaniels to work in more double-TE schemes using Jonnu Smith & Hunter Henry. Let's crunch a few key numbers. My bottom line points out a Miami team that just finished 10-6 (missed the AFC playoffs with a 56-26 loss to Buffalo in Week 17) won't be as fortunate enough to get a +9 turnover ratio again. The Fish have been slow starters the past 2 seasons going just 2-6 ATS in September. Remember, Belichick MASTERS younger QB's (Tua) when he has ample time to prepare. The last 9 trips to this venue has seen the Dolphins cover just once (won 27-24 in Dec. 19'). The clinchers have to be the Hoodies' gang going a perfect 8-0 ATS @ home when avenging a SU loss to Miami AND a solid 11-4-1 ATS as divisional home favorites. In closing, let's look @ a quick system. It states: Take any opening-week home chalk if playing a winning team (previous season record). The past 21 seasons, this system has gone a ticket-cashing 45-20-5 against the number & good for 69.2%. Let's get ready to jet over to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough to play the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS as my NFL Consistent Avenger Play! Mike Handzelek's 2021-22 NFL Overall Record: 1-1 for 50%

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