Hopefully everybody tailed Team Degenerate in Week 5. It was a perfect 6-0 week as all three of our sides and our three player props came through for a total gain of nine units. What better way to spend a Packers bye week? That brings the season total to a robust 20-9-2 and +12 units. That’s a near impossible rate to keep, but there is no reason we cannot try.
Green Bay Packers (-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The look ahead line for this game prior to last week was Tampa Bay favored by 2.5 points, so we have a big adjustment for one week. It’s especially large because the Packers had a bye week, so their stock could not have been raised at all.
Is the line move justified? Not based off last week. The Bucs did lose by a 20-19 score on the road in a Thursday Night Football game at Chicago, but they were really the better team in that one and outgained Chicago 33-243. What did Tampa Bay in was 11 penalties for 109 yards.
However, I do believe that +2.5 line was a bad line to begin with. My power ratings have Green Bay two points better than Tampa, so with a 1.5 point edge for home field advantage that would make the line about what it is now. So there is really no line value at the current number from my perspective.
Both teams are in excellent spots and should be fully motivated. The Packers are road favorites coming off a bye, which is a spot that historically has a very high rate of covering. They’re also getting back Davante Adams and Kenny Clark. Even though he is not the same quarterback anymore, Tom Brady is 14-1 against the spread in his career coming off a loss as an underdog.
In the on the field matchup, there is not really a huge edge on either side. Tampa Bay can counter Green Bay’s historic offense with a defense that ranks No. 2 in Football Outsiders DVOA. The Tampa Bay defense has been impossible to run on for two seasons, but that could change with nose tackle Vita Vea out for the season.
Conversely, the Bucs getting Chris Godwin back on offense is huge and would be even more critical of Kevin King is out for the Packers. Although, if the Packers can get pressure on Brady it might not matter. Green Bay is the most publicly backed team in the NFL this week by the betting public.
Minnesota Vikings (-4) over Atlanta Falcons 2 units
The Falcons are a dead team walking that is bound to make major changes. They’re still being overvalued in the market due to some nice offensive yardage in the first few games. However, without Julio Jones 100% they’re not nearly the same offense. Dan Quinn was a well-liked coach in the organization, so it’s hard to see the effort or performance from the players improving much.
Minnesota has faced a brutal early season schedule with their losses coming to Green Bay, Indianapolis, Tennessee and Seattle. Since the emergence of Justin Jefferson, the Minnesota offense has been much improved and its much maligned defense is coming off a good game in Seattle. This line should be closer to seven.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) over Cleveland Browns 2 units
Ben Roethlisberger has dominated the Cleveland Browns in his career and look for it to continue here. This matchup is just a tough one for Cleveland. Baker Mayfield struggles under pressure and Pittsburgh has by far the best pressure rate in the NFL by far. Pittsburgh sacked Carson Wentz five times last week. The fact that Mayfield is dealing with a ribs injury will make things even tougher.
Cleveland also depends on a strong running game to open things up for Mayfield and Pittsburgh gives up just 64 yards per game on the ground. While the win over the Colts last week was impressive, Darius Leonard and Anthony Costanzo being out for the Colts were huge losses.
Dallas Cowboys (+1) over Arizona Cardinals 2 units
This feels like a big moment where Dallas rallies for Dak Prescott and plays a big game in primetime. With an amazing supporting cast surrounding him, Andy Dalton is more than capable of keeping the offense performing at a high level.
This is also a play against Arizona, which is a team that is a little overrated at this point. Its Week 1 win over San Francisco certainly looks less impressive now and its other two wins are against Washington and the New York Jets. Dallas (15th) actually ranks ahead of Arizona (18th) in DVOA.
San Francisco 49ers (+3.5) over Los Angeles Rams 1 unit
This line has adjusted 6.5 points from last week as the 49ers were favored by three points on the look ahead line. Even for as bad as San Francisco looked last week that is way too much going through key numbers. The 49ers are playing their third straight home game while this will be the fourth road game in five weeks for the Rams and three of those were on the east coast.
The season may be on the line here from San Francisco and I believe Kyle Shanahan gets the most out of them.