The NFL Week 6 edition where I “empty the notebook” with a collection of interesting NFL betting angles, concepts, matchups and other analysis I uncovered this week which didn’t make it into my write-ups or analysis that I shared with clients for the week.
…a Carolina Panther’s team which once was driven by the run, unable to run the football at all. The Panthers average 3.2 YPC from their RBs, which is the worst rate in the NFL apart from the Cardinals. And that was prior to their game with the Eagles on Thursday, where the Panthers RBs gained a pathetic 1 yard rushing on 13 attempts.
…the 2017 rookie QB class starting to make impacts on the field. The only quarterback who actually started week 1 was DeShone Kizer. Kizer ultimately proved unable to play decisively enough in the pocket. But we saw Deshaun Watson, the last of 3 first round quarterbacks, make big plays the last 3 weeks, including nearly upsetting the Patriots, and now we saw the 2nd overall QB make his first start last Monday night. The only quarterback left from the first round is Patrick Mahomes, who won’t sniff the field unless Alex Smith is injured.
…one of the most unintelligent coaching decisions I’ve ever seen, when the Steelers thought it was more advantageous to pass the ball against the #1 rated Jaguars pass defense instead of running it against the Jaguars #32 run defense. Leading 3-0 after the first quarter, the Steelers had Ben Roethlisberger throw 46 passes in quarters 2-4 while Le’Veon Bell had only 9 rushes. The game was within one score for most of these plays. It was unconceivable and a huge mistake, which resulted in multiple pick-6s and a bad home loss.What I want to see from teams this week is…
…the Rams run the ball against the Jaguars. Playing against Seattle last week, the Rams fell prey to the problem that haunted the Steelers. Against a much better Seahawks pass defense than run defense, the Rams went too pass-heavy last week and it cost them. Teams need to push the pause button on “doing what we do” in thinking they will out-execute their opponent, and simply do their best to call the most efficient plays against that defense. In today’s matchup, that means running the ball early and often and even if the run game falters early, they cannot shift to a pass heavy attack.
…Kevin Hogan make this Browns offense look like something other than the disaster it looked like under Kizer’s rule. Hogan is a much more athletic quarterback than he’s given credit for, and can run for gains when the coverage dictates it’s the most intelligent decision. I want to see Hogan make quick, decisive reads and avoid hanging in the pocket like Kizer was prone to do.
…the Pittsburgh Steelers lean on Le’Veon Bell on the road and try to keep this highly efficient Chiefs offense off of the field. While Ben Roethlisberger gave hints that he’s done, I don’t believe that to be the case just yet. But I feel like his days of chucking it downfield might be done. If the Steelers can execute a more efficient, shorter passing offense with a ton of balance, I think Roethlisberger can be successful. But he was put in a spot to fail last week and we’ll see if the Steelers offense can look better in Kansas City.What I don’t want to see from teams this week is…
…the Chiefs get too cute instead of punishing the Steelers at their weakness. The Steelers are 3-2, but their 2 losses have come to the Jaguars and the Bears. And the way the Jaguars and Bears beat the Steelers was by running the ball down their throats. The Chiefs have the #1 rushing offense in the NFL, better than both the Jags and the Bears. If the Chiefs set their mind to it, they can win this game using Kareem Hunt and several key scrambles from Alex Smith.
…Joe Flacco bomb at home against the Bears defense. Baltimore is without multiple running backs and they simply don’t have the horses to prevent Flacco from throwing often. Terrance West is out for several weeks, and Buck Allen and Alex Collins are carrying the load in Baltimore. But Joe Flacco has to do his part in the passing game for the Ravens to avoid disaster at home. The Ravens still have Jeremy Maclin, Mike Wallace and Ben Watson. Flacco is the NFL’s highest salary cap hit of the season for any player at any position. He needs to come through at home and he can’t underperform once again or the Ravens might be upset.
…the Chargers refuse to intensely incorporate TE Hunter Henry into their offense. He is their most efficient receiver. He was in 2016 and is in 2017. Yet the Chargers insist in force-feeding Keenan Allen even when there are so many great passing weapons in this offense that the ball literally should go to the most open receiver with the best matchup every single time Rivers drops back to pass. I love Allen, but there is no way that such volume is the most efficient pass to make each dropback. The Chargers need to spread the ball around more, and they absolutely must pass the ball more often to Hunter Henry.
What I found is…
…the Eagles on average faced 3rd and 9.1 yards to go in week 5, the furthest “to-go” of any team on 3rd down, yet they converted at 64%, the best 3rd down conversion rate of any team in the league. We should see regression, but they were once again tremendous at converting 3rd and long on Thursday in Carolina.
… the Falcons, who faced a brutal schedule of pass defenses in their last 2 games (7th hardest) now get to face the Dolphins, whose pass defense ranks 4th worst. I really like the prospects of Taylor Gabriel, WR for Atlanta in fantasy this week.
… the Browns defense is allowing 9.2 YPA to opposing WRs, the 4th worst in the league, while facing the following quarterbacks: Joe Flacco, Jacoby Brissett, Josh McCown, Andy Dalton and Ben Roethlisberger. Those are not good quarterbacks (this year specifically, in the case of Roethlisberger and Dalton) and 9.2 YPA is quite bad. Deshawn Watson might be in for another exciting day.
… The Steelers have faced the DeShone Kizer (no longer starting), Mike Glennon (no longer starting), Case Keenum (backup for the Vikings), Joe Flaccco and Blake Bortles. There may not be a worse collection of opposing quarterbacks that any team has faced this year. The Chiefs offense may have a nice day.What you need to know is…
…the Lions will be without DT Haloti Ngata, LB Paul Worrilow and may be without DE Ezekiel Ansah. And while Matthew Stafford will start, his ankle was injured and he may be at less than 100% this week.
…the Ravens are still without DT Brandon Williams, who is a massive run stopper for that defense. The Bears may have an edge on the ground.
…the Vikings will be without their starting QB, RB and #1 WR from week 1 when they host the Packers, as Sam Bradford, Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs will all be absent from this offense.
…the Redskins overachieving defense will be without CB Josh Norman, and offensively they will be without RB Rob Kelley and may be without LT Trent Williams. Norman and Williams are key pieces for this team on both sides of the ball.
About the author: Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) is a licensed Professional Engineer and is an inventor of custom & predictive NFL analytics/visualized data. He owns Sharp Football Analysis and Sharp Football Stats. His work has been seen at ESPN, FOX, the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and many other news/sports sites. He authored the bestselling 'Warren Sharp's 2017 Football Preview', available on Amazon or in PDF.