For about half the day, things were really looking up.
Week 9 Vibe Check (2-2) - Nailing that the Ravens were going to go into Indy and pull a win out at all costs and them delivering felt absolutely tremendous. I saw them at -1 earlier in the week, but by game time they were +1 at some books and I sincerely hope you got to bet an underdog Ravens team.
Going into the afternoon, something became apparent almost immediately: the Steelers were not covering 14 points. The Cowboys' fourth QB of the season, Garrett Gilbert, proved move effectively than the last two, combined. Not to mention, Big Ben was dealing with an injury most of the game. Here's a live look at his recovery now:
Ben Roethlisberger, feeling great, leaves the practice field three years ago.Jeremy Fowler/ESPN
Davante Parker laid out his case as Tua's top target and easily put up over 4.5 catches. Meanwhile, I need to start following my own advice or, at least, hold a negotiation with whatever deity the Chargers angered.
Seahawks +2.5 over Rams
This line feels a little too reactionary for my tastes. Sure, the Seahawks got run off the field in Buffalo, but that was bound to happen. It was a cross country road game against a passing heavy team a week after blowing out their division rival. The thing everyone's forgetting is how bad the Rams looked pre-bye. Short term memory is important to play sports, but not to bet on them. Russell Wilson has been aerial maestro this season and I'll take him with points over Jared Goff any day of the week and twice this Sunday.
Bengals +7.5 over Steelers
Right before kick off last week, my cousin inquired "-3.5 in the first quarter or -7.5 in the half for the Steelers?" Thinking, hey this Dallas team looks hardly competent enough to tie their own shoelaces, I cracked, "Why not both?" We very quickly learned why not. Even before Ben's injury, his ability to throw the deep ball has diminished in a flash. One of the league's top gunslingers has only completed 31% of his passes beyond 15 yards and gone 1 of 12 in the past two games. While the Pittsburgh D has occupied rarified air, Ben can't quite get as much under his passes as he once could. This seems to have stalled the offense, at times, even with his full assortment of weapons. On the other side, Joe Burrow has consistently looked like the QB of the future that we were all promised. He's kept Cincinnati in just about every ballgame, losing two out of the last three on last second comebacks and beating Tennessee a week ago. Give the young man a touchdown and I'm willing to ride with him.
Dolphins -1.5 over Chargers
We are trying this again, folks! Let's bet against the Chargers for a change and try to win some money. Miami come out ahead in two games against better, non-cursed teams since the Tua takeover, and their sturdy pass D has only gotten better, too. In fact, they're uniquely positioned to handle Herbert's deep ball prowess and LA's backfield is currently undermanned, limiting their ability to attack the most exploitable part of Miami's defense.
@Tua has been making plays and showing why the @MiamiDolphins took him with the 5th pick overall in the draft.… https://t.co/N4i2JmVJWb— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFL Matchup on ESPN)1605315601.0
Brandon Aiyuk over 4.5 Recs
The Niners will now be without every starting skill position player except for Kendrick Bourne from last season year's battle royale in the Superdome, so... Improvement, I guess? One guy who'll be on the field that they didn't have last season or last week will be the burgeoning YAC monster, Aiyuk. After missing Thursday night's Packer beatdown due close contact to Bourne, who appears to have been a COVID false positive, the Niners will be able to implement a game plan built around their rookie receiving sensation. That's apparently what Shanahan had done before having to pivot his schemes to 5th stringer, Richie James, who promptly had the game of his life, racking up 9 catches and 184 yards. Between Aiyuk's speed making him an even more potent deep threat than James, he's also more likely to be involved in the "run game," meaning little tap passes on jet sweeps that allow him to explode around the edge and into space. If he gets even two of those looks, he's just under halfway home.
Unless you're the Pittsburgh Steelers, chances are your team is still uncertain about making the playoffs.
The Packers lost, yet the Saints won. The Seahawks won, but so did the Rams. The NFC is in a frenzy, while the Steelers sit atop the AFC waiting for everyone else to catch up. With only five weeks left, the playoff picture is a little fuzzy, but it clarifies with each game.
Likewise, fantasy playoffs are just on the horizon, and unless you're undefeated, there's a strong chance you're still clamoring for a spot.
If you need to make some moves for a playoff berth, here are some suggestions in this week's drops, swaps and shops.
Note: For ESPN Leagues, all public leagues must submit trades before the trade deadline on Wednesday, November 25th at 12 ET. Rules vary within leagues, but this could be your last week for swaps.
As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it.
Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
Taysom Hill, Andy Dalton, and P.J. Walker all lead their teams to Week 11 victories filling in for injured starting QBs. Cleveland moved ahead of the Ravens in the AFC North with their win over the Eagles while Baltimore fell to the Titans. The Steelers continued to roll and now sit at 10-0 atop the NFL. The Colts outlasted the Packers in an overtime thriller as Indianapolis is now positioning themselves as a team nobody wants to see come playoff time as they boast the best defense in the NFL.
Joe Burrow was injured in the Bengals' game against Washington and he miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. This should make Justin Herbert the odds on favorite to win Rookie of the Year if you're interested in a futures bet.
At this point, I may never bet on the NFC West again.
Week 10 Vibe Check (2-2)
At this point, I may never bet on the NFC West again. After losing to the Rams last week, Seattle turned around and beat the Cardinals on Thursday night. Every matchup in that division is a heavyweight bout and it's hard to justify betting on one when they can all throw a haymaker at any time. Meanwhile, the Bengals weren't ready for a D like the Steelers and the QB of the future looked stuck in the present reality for the time being.
As for our wins, in a shocking turn of events, betting against the Chargers WORKED! Or, perhaps, I should say betting on the Dolphins worked. Brian Flores looks more and more like he was the true key to the Patriots defensive success in recent years. He took on two NFC teams back to back and cruised against the poor, befuddled Chargers. Tua coming into his own has certainly helped, as well.
Brandon Aiyuk tallied a whopping seven catches down in New Orleans, even as the 49ers completely sputtered and blew a chance to upset a Drew Brees-less Saints. This continues a month long streak of calling player props, which is almost certain to end this week after pointing out its existence. *Fingers crossed* *No jinx* *Reverse jinx*