We’re diving into two more games that we’re recommending, the Rams +2.5 over Buffalo and the Eagles -6.0 over the Bengals. Let’s do it.
LA Rams @ Buffalo
Recommended Wager: LAR +2.5
Los Angeles Rams: (Week 9 bye)
-RB Cam Akers (ribs) was injured week 2. He is considered “day to day” with an outside shot at playing week 3.
IR: LG Joe Noteboom (calf — short term), DT A’Shawn Robinson (undisclosed), OLB Tarrell Lewis (knee)
Buffalo Bills: (Week 11 bye)
-TE Dawson Knox (concussion) was injured week 2.
-RB Zach Moss (toe) did not practice Wednesday and Thursday.
-LB Tremaine Edmunds (shoulder) was INACTIVE week 2 after not practicing Friday.
-LB Matt Milano (hamstring) was INACTIVE week 2 after not practicing all week.
IR: G Jon Feliciano (shoulder), DT Star Lotulelei (opt out), CB EJ Gaines (opt out), Josh Norman (hamstring)
Line watching: The line opened at -3 and was bet down to 2.5, which is where it’s at now.
The Rams handling of the offensive line in the offseason was a bit of a mystery for me. 2019 featured a year with some brutally bad lines, and the Rams were one of the worst. The only bright spot was 38 year old LT Andrew Whitworth, who will be blocking edge rushers into his grave. RT Rob Havenstein was outstanding in 2018, only to do a massive 180 where he was one of the worst tackles in the league in 2019. Havenstein is back to playing well, RG Austin Corbett’s 74.3 PFF grade is 15th best amongst guards, and Whitworth is as good as ever. If the Rams’s plans in the offseason were to just have their current starters play better, it’s working.
It’s an important point too, since Jared Goff routinely has one of the more intense under pressure/kept clean stats in the league. Goff has completed 69% of his passes gaining 9.3 yards per attempt, good for a 86.9 PFF grade. He has Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and TE Tyler Higbee all as great receiving options. When all of the pieces work, it’s an offense that can make shit happen. Their defense lacks up front outside of Aaron Donald — regular readers will know my fascination with him. They really sign in the secondary, lead by Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill.
Speaking of QBs taking a step forward in 2020, Josh Allen has been a monster. He’s completing 70.4% of his passes and 9.0 YPA with a 72.8 PFF grade. It turns out adding Stefon Diggs to your receiving core is a smart move. With John Brown as a deep option and Cole Beasley in the slot, it’s a solid trio. The line projected to be middle of the road — thus far they’ve excelled at pass blocking and struggled against the run. The running game has been a split backfield between Devin Singletary and Zach Moss. Singletary has been the more efficient runner (4.5 YPA vs 2.8), and he may need to shoulder the load with Moss being sidelined with a toe injury. The Bills offense has looked good, but the caveat is they lead off with the Jets and Dolphins, making the Rams easily the best defense they’ve faced so far.
The Bills defense starts with a stingy secondary, lead by pro bowl corner Tre’Davious White. With Mycha Hyde and Joey Porter at safety, it’s one of the toughest defenses to throw on in football and will be a real test for Jared Goff. Their pass rush is solid enough — lead by Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison, but their linebacking core will be without both of their starters in Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano.
Cincinnati @ Philadelphia
Recommended Wager: PHI -6.0
Cincinnati Bengals: (Week 9 bye)
-DT Geno Atkins (shoulder) was INACTIVE weeks 1 and 2. He did not practice Wednesday/Thursday.
-DT Mike Daniels (groin) was INACTIVE week 2 after not practicing all week. He did not practice Wednesday/Thursday.
-S Shawn Williams (calf) was INACTIVE weeks 1 and 2. He was limited Wednesday/Thursday, which were his first practices this year.
IR: TE CJ Uzomah (Achilles – Season Ending), RG Xavier Su’a-Filo (ankle), DT Josh Tupou (opt out), CB Trae Waynes (pectoral)
Philadelphia Eagles: (Week 9 bye)
-WR Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) was INACTIVE weeks 1 and 2. He did not practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday, which was his first practice this year.
-WR Jalen Reagor (thumb) is OUT. He did not practice Wednesday/Thursday.
-DT Fletcher Cox (abdomen) did not practice Wednesday/Thursday.
IR: WR Marquise Goodwin (opt out), G Brandon Brooks (achilles), T Andre Dillard (biceps), LG Issac Seumalo (knee — short term), DE Vinny Curry (hamstring)
Line watching: The line opened at 6, which is where the model grabbed it. It’s been bet down to 4.5, so uh, bet it if you haven’t.
With the Bengals offense, all eyes are on 1st overall pick Joe Burrow. Through the first two games Burrow has shown why he was the first overall pick — the high end throws are there, and the poise in 2 minute drills has looked veteran-esque. It’s a tough spot for Burrow playing behind a poor offensive line and trying to force the ball to AJ Green, who hasn’t quite shaken the rust off yet after missing all of the 2019 season. Green leads the team in targets (22, second is Tyler Boyd with 13), but he’s only caught 8 of those and has 2 drops. Boyd is the typical secondary option who will see most of his snaps out of the slot. TE CJ Uzomah was third in targets, but he’s done for the year after tearing his achilles. That’ll lift 2019 second rounder Drew Sample into primary tight end pass catching duties. The defense is a bit of a mess and is without their top defensive lineman Geno Atkins. They do have some additional talent up front with Carlos Dunalp and DJ Reader, but are playing essentially nothing but rookies at linebacker. The secondary features beatable corners in William Jackson and Darius Phillips.
Picking the Eagles is the ultimate fade 2 game sample size play that we see all the time from the model. They’ve free fallen in our power rankings from 11 -> 16 -> 19 after losing two decisive games to the Football Team and the Rams. To say Carson Wentz has had a rough start would put it nicely. To say he’s been the worst quarterback in the league would be a take more accurate than any pass he’s made all year. Per PFF’s ball charting data, he has the highest percentage of uncatchable passes and the lowest percentage of catchable passes. The offensive line surrendered 8 sacks to the Football Team in week 1, but got all pro RT Lane Johnson back in week 2 and comfortably slowed down Aaron Donald and the Rams. The receiving core is still an issue — with Alshon Jeffrey and Jalen Reagor out, they’ll rely on tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, DeSean Jackson, and RB Miles Sanders. The defense is a ton of fire power up front, as they’re routinely one of the better lines in football. They’ll be without DE Vinny Curry and potentially Fletcher Cox, but I still have a hard time seeing them having any issues with the Bengals line. The secondary was once upon a time awful, but adding Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman (a nickel corner literally named nickel(l)) should help.
That’s it for now, bitches.