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.

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Michael Reaves/Getty Images

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