Russell Wilson scrambles in a win against the Arizona Cardinals.

Joe Nicholson/USA Today

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*



Browns -2.5 over Eagles

The Browns and Eagles have been equally inept against the spread at 3-6, while Cleveland's record stands at 6-3, Philly has barely scraped together those three wins and a tie. The return of Nick Chubb should bring the offense back to it's early glory. When both Chubb and Kareem Hunt are in the lineup, there hasn't been a better rushing attack in the league with a 209 yard average in those games. If they can control the ball like that against a team, who gave up two rushing TDs to Wayne Gallman last week, I like their odds.

Dolphins -3.5 over Broncos

Miami will touch down in chilly Denver scorching hot, riding a five game winning streak with five accompanying covers to boot. As I mentioned earlier, they've soared behind a dominant D, as the offense, now under Tua, has risen to their counterpart's excellence.

Unfortunately, the opposite has been true for the Bronco D, who outplayed its offense early in the season, has sunk to match the other side of the ball's mediocrity. The forefront of their issues has been consistently subpar QB play by Drew Lock or Mark Rypien or, I mean, Brett Rypien.

After suffering a set of bruised ribs and tossing four picks against the Raiders, it seemed like a benching could be in the cards for Lock, especially since he split time in practice the past week. He might wish that was the case since he's about to face the fourth most blitz happy team in the league, who bring the heat at a 41.6% clip. They deploy a deadly Cover Zero, which Lock faced against the Chiefs, resulting in a pick-6. He's also completing a measly 31.7% of passes under pressure, ranking only ahead of Dwayne Haskins and Mitch Trubisky, who if you haven't heard aren't starters in the NFL anymore. That's a market inefficiency worth taking advantage of.


Drew Lock was under constant pressure from the Raiders. AP Photo/Isaac Brekken


Taysom Hill under 179.5 Passing Yards/Saints -3.5 over Falcons

This FASCINATES me. Sources leaked mid-week that Taysom Hill would be the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints in the absence of Drew Brees against the Falcons and NFL Twitter went OFF. There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical of this move, not the least of which is that Sean Payton refused to confirm these reports taking the Internet by storm in his Friday press conference. He would only go so far as to say a decision has been made.

This seems to imply the possibility of some Jameis Winston packages, not that his play against the 49ers in garbage time was a confidence builder. Hill's primary use in the offense has been as a gadget player, a change of pace player that can execute a RPO, line up wide and catch a TD, or receive a pitch to fire a rocket downfield.

Over the course of his career, we've seen a lot more running and catching than throwing, as evidenced by his 18 passes for 205 yards and a pick in four NFL seasons. There's a simple reason for this, Hill's wonky throwing motion, a certain hitch in his giddyup that can be seen by even the most vision impaired.


This points to a very specific game plan that Sean Payton would be looking to utilize against the Falcons. Atlanta's D has stood up to both passing and rushing in equal measure this season, allowing the second and sixth least yards in each, respectively. However, they're strength comes from rushing the passer through the middle of the line where the Saints remain weakest.

A great way to neutralize that threat is to use your dual threat quarterback to push rushing plays to the edge and hit wide receivers on quick, short passes, which offers the added bonus of getting your QB who last played a full game under center nearly four years ago into a rhythm.

You can also expect a healthy dose of screens and dump offs to Alvin Kamara, the most dynamic safety valve in the league. All of this should amount to a game built on ball control and allowing the Saints' secondary hunt. That reads like a run heavy game from Hill and a victory for New Orleans.

Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

Barry Gossage/Getty Images

In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

Keep reading... Show less

Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

Keep reading... Show less

The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


Keep reading... Show less