Record: 6-8 | Bonus Record: 3-0
Week four presented some obvious takeaways, the first being that I was tricked by false optimism, the Lions’ defense could not function without Tracy Walker last week, and secondly, the Vikings could be the most overrated team in the league right now. People seem to conclude that this squad is easily top 5-8 sporting a 3-1 record, but could have gone 0-3 the last three weeks. While the Vikings should not be written off, they have much to prove after their offense failed to be productive against the Lions’ abysmal defense, and their defense parted like the Red Sea for an Andy Dalton led Saints lacking Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Overall, it has been difficult to predict results in a year that few teams’ success has been predictable complicated further by an abundance of injuries, so this week I highlighted a plethora of player props. Furthermore, special guest and good friend Noah Erickson will feature another couple picks, hopefully adding to a huge week:
Etienne O35.5 Rush yards
Week four saw the first game in which Etienne finally out snapped Robinson, a trend that we will likely continue to observe throughout the year. While I expect Robinson to regain the slight majority of snaps and opportunities in a positive game-script against the Texans, Etienne should still be plenty involved. The Texans allow 172 rush yards per game, the second most in the NFL, so expect the Jags to lean on the run game in this contest. I think the Jags probably push thirty rush attempts, of which Etienne receives 10-15, more than sufficient to reach 36 rush yards.
49rs -6.5 @ Panthers
After the Vikings burned me last week in what appeared to be a gift of a line, I hesitantly take the 49ers in a similar situation. Although the 49ers must win by a touchdown this week, their surging defense will dominate an utterly incompetent Baker Mayfield led Panthers’ offense. Furthermore, the 49ers’ offense should perform increasingly competently as Jimmy Garoppolo regains comfort at the helm with each passing week.
Barkley U81.5 Rush Yards
Barkley is definitely difficult to bet against this season, looking phenomenal through the first four games, but it could be wise to temper rushing expectations in this matchup. While the Packers do not boast a premium run defense, it’s better than most Barkley has faced this year. The Giants probably play from behind the majority of this contest, leaving more opportunity for Barkley to operate through the air than on the ground.
Stevenson O54.5 Rush Yards
Besides a week one anomaly, Rhamondre Stevenson has quietly commanded at least a 55% snap share each game this season. The promising back figures to be plenty busy all afternoon in Zappe’s second start against a bottom three run defense. In Zappe’s first game, the Patriots opted to run the ball over thirty times and will presumably follow the same plan this weekend. We can expect Stevenson to reach about 15 rushes again, and that the efficient back will locate lanes all day against the Lions’ hapless defense.
This Sunday at 4:25PM features an over performing team in the Philadelphia Eagles taking on an underperforming Arizona Cardinals team. While I know the Eagles are 3-1ATS so far this year I will be targeting the point total. Arizona comes into this game allowing 25.8PPG (ranked 28th), 0.46 Opp points per play, and giving up touchdowns 71.4% in the red zone (26th ranked) all pointing to allowing scores often. They are abysmal defending the pass and I expect Jalen Hurts to have a field day. On the opposite side of the ball the Eagles defense hasn’t looked amazing. Sure, they held the Carson Wentz lead Commanders to 8 points, but is that even impressive. If you take out that game and the game against prime time Kirk Cousins, the defense allowed 21 points to a below average Jaguars team and 35 points against my Lions. This Cardinals offense should have a chance to improve this week and reach this total.
Kenny Pickett looks to make his first career start on the road against a far better Bills team. I see this game going under for many reasons. First of all, this Bills team will severely limit what the Steelers plan to do offensively. I also don’t see the Steelers forcing passing, meaning more rushing attempts for a below average group in that department. I think the Bills will have a comfortable lead and just try to run the ball, which has been above average so far this season. So far this season the under is 3-1 in Bills games because I think the public puts a little too much value on their offense. I can’t see this game being very entertaining, so watch the Detroit Lions and let the game go under.
The defending AFC champions haven’t had the exact start they were looking to get off to, but they have been heading in the right direction. This is the perfect spot for the Bengals to continue their hot streak. In the two Bengals losses, Joe Shiesty was sacked a combined 13 times. Since then, he’s only been sacked three times total, ultimately leading to wins. Adding to this, the Ravens struggle to get to the QB having an awful 4.32 sack percent (28th ranked) meaning Big Burr should have all the time he needs to attack this banged up Ravens secondary, allowing the most passing yards per game. This isn’t adding the most underrated aspect of this game which is the Bengals defense. They quietly rank 8th in Opp PPG, 3rd in 3rd down conversion, and are a top 5 defense against the run. Insanely, they’ve only given up 3 touchdowns all season. I think the wrong team is favored here, enough to maybe take the moneyline, but I’ll ride with +3.5 points.
Look, I know I just ripped on Carson Wentz for being awful and I stand by that but this is a favorable matchup for him. These teams simply struggle to stop what each of the offenses will be trying to do. For the Commanders, they rely on the pass game where the Titans allow the 4th most passing yards per game. If the Commanders keep scoring, we have nothing to fear with the Titans putting up points. Washington quite frankly reminds me of my Michigan State Spartans, not being able to stop a team full of grandmothers(no offense grandma). This should be a close game where Washington could get one of its few wins on the season, raising the chance for scores late. Carson Wentz somehow got undervalued here and this game will go over.