Well, games like last night make me wonder why the fuck I bother trying to figure anything out! 1,500 odd words on the Ravens game; All bollocks. The Titans were brilliant, I didn’t think they’d be allowed to use the same gameplan as last week, but I was wrong. They made key stops when needed on 4th down and near the goal line, restricted the Ravens to mainly field goals and punished mistakes. Well done Tennessee.
The Ravens put up nearly double the yards of their opposition mainly because they were starting nearly every drive inside their own 10 yard line, but they moved the ball down the field well enough just couldn’t convert, they were rusty, a lot of drops and Mark Ingram surely wasn’t fit. They went away from the run game far too quickly for my liking. After getting it back to 14-6 at half time and getting the ball to start the second half there was no need to be passing the ball on 1st down. Just do what you’ve done all season.
BUT Fair play to the Titans. They’ve won 2 playoff games, against the reigning champs and the champions-elect with 15 completions for 160 yards COMBINED. Derrick Henry has had 65 touches in those two games making it 97 in three games now. They’ve got a plan and it’s working for them.
The other game wasn’t quite as interesting as the 49ers murdered the Vikings in every aspect of the game. This one wasn’t on Kirk Cousins who was under constant duress for the entire game with Ford, Bosa, Buckner and Armstead constantly in his face, each of them recording at least one sack on him. He had no time to do anything and a lot of his completions were dump offs to Dalvin Cook while he was getting fucked in the face.
The linebackers for the 49ers were immense, Kwon Alexander looked great in his first game back and Fred Warner continues to impress everyone. Jacquzzi (personal joke) Tartt has been great for a couple of years now and had a good game and Richard Sherman made sure everyone knows how good he still is after his pick.
Offensively they imposed their will with the run game which the Vikings couldn’t stop. It was typical of Shanahan to go away from Mostert in the game I jumped on board, of course, but Coleman was running well. I was right on Kittle not having the best of games stat-wise but the coverage made sure to highlight how amazing he is as a blocker. He’ll probably top 100 yards next week to balance things out.
I tipped up 4 things in this one, Cook and Mostert failed to find the endzone, but the Sacks and Bourne yards both landed easily so we finished around even on the night (a very slight loss)
Houston Texans +9.5 @ Kansas City Chiefs: Total – 51
Weather – around freezing, no rain/snow, no real wind. Nice.
Urgh, I’m struggling to right much here.
Trailing 16-0 early in the second half last week Deshaun Watson led the Texans to a remarkable comeback as Josh Allen fell apart in the second half last week. It was pretty much all on Deshaun Watson at QB who’s a freaking magician getting out of pressure.
They should welcome back Will Fuller for this one and the offense is completely different with him in squad, he spreads the field for the offense and helps the others get open. They need him because the offense was putrid last week for the most part. It’s been a weird season for Deandre Hopkins he’s put up good numbers but hasn’t really done a whole lot by his high standards though he was key in the comeback last week making some important catches. Kenny Stills has had an up and down season on the whole but again made some important catches last week to keep drives moving, and the WR3 there may as well not exist. Keke Coutee didn’t get a single snap as it was all Deandre Carter who turned his 80% snaps into 1 reception for 5 yards. BRING BACK KEKE!
The run game was about as inspiring as you’d expect from a Carlos Hyde led unit, it is what it is, 3 yards per carry, plodding down the field. Yay. Duke Johnson is still used mainly as a 3rd down back despite the fact he’s actually a fairly decent runner with the ball in his hands as well. He finished on 38 yards from 3 carries and 30 yards through the air last week.
But this team is carried mainly by Deshaun Watson who almost single-handedly won the game last week. He literally carried people into the endzone on his run and the 2 point conversion and despite causing most of the sacks he took in the first half he turned it around in the second. The move he put on the two rushers at the end of the game to find Taiwon Jones was ridiculous. He actually finished 20 from 25 passes in the end which I guess makes sense as he was refusing to throw the ball to players early on.
It went a little under the radar on the TV Coverage but apparently JJ Watt was back for the Texans last week? I’ll be honest, I barely noticed him… Coming back very early from injury he looked great and I’ll admit his sack to hold the Bills to 3 to start the second half did swing the momentum in the game. The Texans rank 26th vs the pass, 22nd vs the run this year, but have looked better in the secondary since Gareon Conley came in and obviously JJ being back helps the pass rush.
ANDY REID OFF A BYE WEEK!!!!!! Everyone knows that Reid is brilliant off a bye, right? Well, maybe not, he’s 4-3 ATS coming off a bye week with the Chiefs, and surprisingly has been heavily towards the unders, 1-5-1 on that stat (Thanks for Andy and the Whale on the Deep Dive for that nugget, fantastic podcast which goes far more in depth than I ever could)
Patrick Mahomes has had a terrible season compared to last year… He’s been great again, despite having a couple of fairly serious injuries, the ankle and then the dislocated kneecap, he looks like he’s finally back to health for the Chiefs and he’s got his main weapons all together again as well after missing at least one key player for a lot of the season. He finished the year 2nd in QBR, 8th in TDs and 10th in yards thrown despite missing a couple of games. Safe to say he’s here to stay.
Is the key man on offense Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce? Well they coped pretty well without Hill for 4 games this year, so you’ve got to say Kelce really, he’s the release valve in the middle of the field and probably the second best TE in the league (sorry I’ve got tot take Kittle ahead of him) He finished with 1,229 yards on the season, good for 4th in pass catchers in the league. Only 5 TDs though which is low for him. Hill is of course pretty explosive and should do well down the field against a Texans defense which has struggled against deep passes this season so you’ve got to expect him to get his tonight. Sammy Watkins is horribly unreliable, I’m love to take u45.5 for him, but he’s clearly got the talent to put up big games so I just know I’d be pissed off if he had one of his rare good games. Demarcus Robinson has had big games but not much recently. 17.5 is his line. One I am a little interested in here is Mecole Hardman you can get o19.5 on him at William Hill (line is 29.5 at Redzone if you want a middle) I like him to go over the line, he tends to get 3 targets or so per game, he’s got the pace to hurt the Texans secondary. He can make his yards in one catch.
The run game for the Chiefs is muddled. Due to injury they’ve had to use a trio of back, McCoy and Thompson filled in well for Damien Williams when he was injured, but he’s back now and I think he’ll be the lead back for the Chiefs. He’s looked good and is the best fit for them, 12 carries for 124 and 2 TDs on the ground in this final game of the season against the Chargers, a lot came from a 84 yarder, but he’s got that long speed ability. I had a feeling that they’d use McCoy more coming into the playoffs given that they said they were managing his workload early in the year, but speaking to a Chiefs fan he reckons he’s fallen out of favour due to his fumbles, so probably still Williams.
Defensively the Chiefs have got better as the season has gone along, but they lost Jaun Thornhill last week who’d been playing very well for them and that will hurt. They ranked 6th vs the pass, but 29th vs the run. Chris Jones on the injury report is a worry as he’s a key pass rusher for them.
Fuck knows, I’ll be honest this is a terrible write up. There’s no flow, no love and there won’t be much in the next one either. Sorry.
I’ve got to think the Chiefs win and do it comfortably but I thought that yesterday with the Ravens. Surely we can’t have a fucking AFC Championship game of Texans v Titans?! Fuck off.
The Andy Reid unders record is interesting as they’ve scored 36 points per game coming off a bye since Mahomes took over so it’s probably a look at team totals with Chiefs over and Texans under.
Argh, 4/1 on Hardman is tempting as well at Will Hill, he does kick returns so it’s an extra potential avenue for him.
Both QBs are quite well priced for a TD as well, Watson at 3.6 and Mahomes at 7/1 both decent for running QBs.
- Mecole Hardman o19.5 receiving yards – 1.91 (Will Hill)
- Mecole Hardman anytime TD – 4/1 (Will Hill)
- Deshaun Watson anytime TD – 3.6 (Betfair)
- Duke Johnson o25.5 receiving yards – 1.83 (365/Skybet)
Seattle Seahawks +4 @ Green Bay Packers: 45.5
Weather – Cold. 22f, feels like 15f. – No wind, no rain. Although they have asked for volunteers to clear snow before the game.
The Seahawks aren’t inspiring. They scraped through a game against Josh McCown last week and he looked good against them even after tearing his hamstring from the bone. They couldn’t run the ball and relied as they have for most of the year on Russell Wilsons brilliance.
Wilson is the best QB in the NFC and he’s shown it a lot this year. He constantly makes something from nothing and his mobility is ridiculous. Arrrgh, I can’t even write well about DangeRuss. He led the team in rush yards last week with 45 of them but surprisingly has only scored TDs in 2 games this season which is a low mark for him.
He’s always had a good connection with Tyler Lockett especially on scrambles, he went over 1,000 yards on the season again and Wilson has a +130 passer rating when targeting him. He’s never been a prolific scorer so 8 TDs on the season isn’t terrible for him. The main scoring threat for them in the passing game is DK Metcalf who stepped up in a big spot last week to finish with 160 yards and a TD from 7 receptions. He was the main reason they won the game last week and while he’s not to the most agile, they’ve been using him to his strengths, being big and running quickly in a straight line. He led rookies in redzone targets during the season. David Moore chipped in well last week, if you’ve read any of my stuff you know I like him. That’s the main three for them then the likes of Malik Turner and John Ursua add a little occasionally.
Tight end is a favoured position of Wilson and Jacob Hollister started off on fire when he came into the starting line up, that’s slowed recently but he still gets targeted in the redzone so isn’t a bad look at 4.2 on Betfair.
The defense was good last week, Clowney looked in pain throughout and delivered the cheap shot that took Carson Wentz out of the game. They rank 15th vs the pass, 26th vs the run.
Aaron Rodgers is a bit of a prick isn’t he. Nothing ever seems to be his fault. I guess that happens when you’ve been probably the best QB in the league for a decade and then things don’t seem to be going right. He ranked 21st in QBR this year, 8th in TDs and 12th in yards. He just doesn’t seem happy this year. He gets more time than most to throw the pass because of their very good offensive line but seems unwilling to check the ball down, he wants the big play all the time.
It’s tough to throw the big play ball when your receivers suck balls though. Davante Adams is literally the only player he trusts in the passing game. He’s had double digit targets in 8 of their last 9 games this year, averaging over 7 receptions in each of them. He was always more of a TD scorer than a yard compiler but the way they’ve played this year swaps that around, only 5 TDs on the season for him. Outside of Adams it’s a struggle. They seem to target MVS on huge plays once a game but he’s out of favour due to not being able to catch anything. Allan Lazard has seemingly stepped into the WR2 spot 9 and 8 targets for him in the final two games of the season. Geronimo Allison stinks, Jake Kumerow is always a pre-season darling but hasn’t done much this year. It’s not a good passing game.
Jimmy Graham is not good any more, but he still gets targeted a lot and the Seahawks are second worst in the league against the tight end this season, just ahead of the Cardinals. If you want a shot to nothing then Jace Sternburger is 22/1 to score, but he’s barely seen the field in his rookie season.
The run game however has been great this year, someone finally figured giving Aaron Jones the ball a lot was a good idea. He led the league in TDs this year with 19 on the season (joint with CmcC) over 1,000 yards on the ground at 4.6 a go and only failing to score in 2 home games this year. When he does find the endzone, he tends to do it in doubles. 6 times he’s scored multiple TDs in games this year. Jamaal Williams should be back to full health this week as well after missing a couple of weeks, the run game is different with him there, he takes a few rushes and 3 or 4 receptions from the backfield. He hasn’t scored for a while but I think he’s been dinged up, this 3 weeks off should have helped him a lot.
Defensively they haven’t been the unit I expected coming into the year, they ranked fairly well vs the pass but can be beaten on the ground. 10th vs the pass, 23rd vs the run on DVOA.
Felt more enthused about this game than the early one tbh despite I don’t think it’s going to be a pretty game.
This one should be won on the ground, the Seahawks run game stinks but they’ll keep going to it. The Packers run game has been good all year so I’ve got to lean to the Packers winning this one. Their home record vs the Seahawks is great and they are actually 10-6 vs the spread this year as well.
The Packers were 3rd in first quarter scoring this year while the Seahawks started slowly in most games, they were 16th. You can get Packers -0.5 in the 1st qtr at Evens.
- Jamaal Williams o28.5 rush and rec. yards – 10/13 (Redzone) (it’s 42.5 on 365)
- Jimmy Graham anytime TD – 7/2 (Skybet)
- Packers -0.5 pts 1st quarter spread – 1/1 (365)
Not my finest work but I’m feeling a little off-kilter after the Titans win yesterday. That was a weird result.