Week 6 Vibe Check (2-3) This past week offered us a worthy entry into the Bad Beat Hall of Losers.
A brutal 22 point fourth quarter by the Eagles killed an easy -7.5 point cover by the Ravens, who haven't quite looked as dominant as we expected them to heading into this season. Meanwhile, the Panthers and Packers decided to make my big sweeping proclamations that Carolina's good and the Tampa Bay Bucs are bad look very silly.
As for my two wins, they were decent nail biters, too. The Titans, thanks to some creative coaching, managed to secure us a cover with a King Henry wildcat TD and the Chiefs showed us all a different dimension they have to crush people, their running game. This kept the game a little closer than most would've liked, but imagine adding Le'Veon Bell to this team. Yeah, start checking Super Bowl futures.
Speaking of the future, let's get a look at Week 7…
To be honest, there aren't a ton of games that I love on this slate. Seems like oddsmakers have this week dialed in and a lot of these match ups just seem a little off. However, the games that do call out to me all have one thing in common.
Road Favorites for the Win
Packers -3.5 over Texans
The Packers are coming off a brutal road loss, in which their offense got full on exposed by Todd Bowles and the Bucs. What's the best medicine for an offense still nursing their pride and trying to rebound? Playing against a defense allowing 5.4 yards per carry and having Aaron Jones on your team is a good start. The line on this should be higher, but the Texans playing a home drops the spread by a couple points. I expect and hope everyone will take advantage here. Heck, double up and bet Aaron Jones overs on yards, TDs, and anything else you can find!
Aaron Rodgers will look to bounce back from a tough loss in Tampa Bay.(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Browns -3 over Bengals
The Browns are coming off a brutal road loss, in which their offense got full on exposed by Keith Butler and the Steelers. What's the best medicine for an offense still nursing their pride and trying to rebound? Playing a defense allowing 5.1 yards per carry and having Kareem Hunt on your team is a good start. Whoa. So, that's what Deja vu feels like. The only way this could be better for the Dawg Pound was if Nick Chubb was healthy. On the flip side, the Cleveland D has been porous, at times, but against the rookie Joe Burrow and a struggling Cincy offense, whom they've already handled once this year with ease, they'll have a chance to get right.
Seahawks -3 over Cardinals
Russell Wilson has cemented himself as the odds-on favorite for MVP on the strength of his glorious arm and ability to extend plays behind his middling offensive line. The Cardinals and Kyler Murray, the briefest of MVP candidates, have shown flashes, but thrown some duds in for equal measure. However, the biggest concern is their strength of opponent. In the past four weeks, they've lost to the Lions and Panthers, while beating up on the Darnold-less Jets and Dak-less Cowboys. The Seahawks are, by far, the best opponent this young and inconsistent team has faced and it's time for the real contender to do away with the pretender.
D'Andre Swift to Score a TD (+135)
The Georgia stud and rookie running back is coming off of his best game as a professional against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This feels like the moment he takes the leap towards being a consistent fantasy play and genuine offensive threat. He put up 116 yards on 14 carries for a gaudy 8.2 average with two touchdowns to boot. He's about to face another weak bottom half of the league rushing D, one who's let up the second most receptions to backs. Swift got four of those last week, so he's just as likely to punch one in via the air as the ground. For a little (lot of) extra value, you can always bet him to score the first TD at +1100.
Jimmy Garoppolo receiving some hands on coaching from Bill Belichick, his former mentor and current opponent. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco vs New England over 43.5
The 49ers and Patriots are both having themselves some odd seasons. Cam Newton looked like his former self in the early going, but a COVID diagnosis derailed any momentum he or the team had before getting the Chiefs, an early bye, and the Broncos. Belichick isn't taking a three game losing streak without a fight, and will be working overtime to return his offense to their early season success. Not to mention, the mastermind is going up against his former backup, who he's definitely sick of having to talk about trading. Meanwhile, the 49ers have been ravaged by injuries, having the most guys on IR this season. This rash of bad luck included their starting QB, RB, WR, TE, CB, DE, and LB all missing time. It culminated in an ugly loss to the Dolphins, which seemed to be the wake up call the team needed to bounce back to beat the Rams. I could easily see this game scoring up into the high 20's with a pair of highly motivated offenses going against defenses, which haven't reached the heights of last season's former glory.
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*