Green Bay @ San Francisco
Recommended Wager: SF +5.5
Sizing: 2 Units
Green Bay Packers: (Week 5 bye)
-RB Aaron Jones (calf) was INACTIVE weeks 7 and 8. He returned to practice for the first time this week as limited and is QUESTIONABLE. He is considered a true game time decision.
-LT David Bakhtiari (shoulder) was injured week 6 and INACTIVE weeks 7 and 8. He was limited/questionable ahead of week 8. He was again limited all week and is QUESTIONABLE.
-RT Rick Wagner (knee) is QUESTIONABLE. He did not practice Monday, but got in limited sessions Tuesday/Wednesday.
-CB Kevin King (quadriceps) was injured week 4 and INACTIVE weeks 6 – 8. He is OUT, but returned to practice for the first time this week as limited.
-S Raven Greene (oblique) was injured week 7 and INACTIVE week 8 after being limited/questionable. He was again limited all week and is QUESTIONABLE.
-S Will Redmond (shoulder) is OUT after missing practice all week.
IR: WR Allen Lazard (core), WR Devin Funchess (opt out), RB Jamaal Williams (COVID-19), RB AJ Dillon (COVID-19), TE Joslah Deguara (ACL – season ending), RG Lane Taylor (knee), LB Christian Kirksey (shoulder), Kamal Martin (COVID-19)
San Francisco 49ers: (Week 11 bye)
-WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) was injured week 7. He was INACTIVE week 8 and is OUT week 9. He has not practiced since the injury.
-RB Tevin Coleman (knee) returned from IR to play week 8, but reaggravated his knee. He is OUT after not practicing all week.
-S Jaquiski Tartt (groin) was injured week 6 and INACTIVE weeks 7 and 8. He is QUESTIONABLE. He returned to practice for the first time this week, getting in limited sessions Tuesday/Wednesday.
IR: QB Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle – season ending), TE George Kittle (foot), WR Travis Benjamin (opt out), RB Raheem Mostert (ankle, RB Jeff Wilson Jr (high ankle sprain), C Weston Richburg (kneecap), C Ben Garland (calf), DE Nick Bosa (ACL – season ending), DE Ronald Blair III (knee), DE Ziggy Ansah (biceps — season ending), DE Dee Ford (neck), DT Solomon Thomas (ACL – season ending), LB K’Wuan Williams (knee/hip), CB Richard Sherman (leg), CB K’Waun Williams (knee — short term)
Spread notes: This game opened as a pick em, but that was before we knew QB Jimmy Garoppolo and TE George Kittle wouldn’t play. The model grabbed it Tuesday at 5.5, and it’s currently at 6.
EDIT: It was just ruled that 49ers WR Brandon Yiuk and star LT Trent Williams have been placed on the COVID-19 list. The line has moved to SF -7. My matchup breakdown is kind of worthless, but here’s what I wrote:
Keys to the game: The big news coming is the 49ers again dealing with a slew of injuries. There’s more talent on their injured reserve than most teams have on their entire roster. The big losses this past week were QB Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) and TE George Kittle (foot). The drop off from Jimmy G to Nick Mullens likely isn’t as dramatic as most people would think given how poor Jimmy has bee this season (67.1% completion percentage, 7.8 YPA, 67.5 PFF grade), though Kittle is a massive loss. Despite poor QB play, the 49ers are 9th in offensive DVOA and 10th in EPA/play. Luckily for them, they’re playing a Packers defense that ranks 29th in DVOA and 27th in EPA/play. Outside of Jaire Alexander, who is probably the best corner in football right now, the Packers defense has struggled in all areas. The play of both Preston and Za’Darius Smith has regressed from last year, and it’s clear DT Kenny Clark isn’t fully healthy yet. The 49ers won’t have a ton of fire power — rookie WR Brandon Yiyuk is only solid receiving threat — but at least they’re at home in an easy matchup.
The other side of the ball is a different story — the Packers offense is 2nd in DVOA and 4th in EPA/play. Rodgers hasn’t quite been as dominant in his last 3 games, but his season as a whole has been stellar — he’s completing 65.9% of his passes, gaining 7.8 yards per attempt with a 20:2 TD:INT ratio and a 92.7 PFF grade. Their only true receiving option is DaVante Adams — he’s pretty good — but I expect CB Jason Verrett to shadow Adams. Verrett has been perpetually injured the last 3 seasons, but he’s finally healthy and has been one of the better corners in football. If Verrett can even contain Adams, Rodgers will need to look to his other receivers for production. The 49ers defense, despite all the injuries, is still sitting at 12th in DVOA and 13th in EPA/play. On the ground, the Packers would probably prefer to give Aaron Jones (calf) another week, but they may be forced to bring him back early with both Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon on the COVID-19 list.
In the end, I think it’s likely the market overreacted to the 49ers injuries, and therefore value was created.
Miami @ Arizona
Recommended Wager: ARI -4.5
Sizing: 1 unit
Miami Dolphins: (Week 7 bye)
IR: WR Albert Wilson (opt out), RB Myles Gaskin (knee), LT Austin Jackson (foot)
Arizona Cardinals: (Week 8 bye)
-RB Kenyan Drake (ankle) was injured week 7. XRays were negative, but he is still expected to miss time.
-DT Jordan Phillips (hamstring) was injured week 7.
IR: TE Max Williams (ankle), T Marcus Gilbert (opt out), DE Chandler Jones (bicep – season ending), DE Zach Allen (knee – short term), S Jalen Thompson (ankle)
Spread notes: The line opened at 6 and was quickly bet down to 4.5, which is where the model grabbed it. It’s still sitting at 4.5, but since it’s far from a key number I wouldn’t be surprised if it moves around a bit.
Keys to the game: Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense showed us absolutely nothing last week against the Rams — instead relying on a masterful of a defensive game plan and special teams touchdowns to win. Though I believe Tua is a solid QB, it’s fair that we pick on the rookie until he can prove that we shouldn’t. It’s not a surprise to me that the model is going right back to fading the Dolphins. Tua has to deal with a dreadful offensive line — both Dolphins QBs have dealt with this by getting rid of the ball quickly — but it’s not a style that we ever saw from Tua at Alabama, and I’m skeptical if he can make it work. The Cardinals defense is fresh off a bye and have been surprisingly efficient despite the lack of talent – ranking 10th in DVOA and 14th in EPA/play. Given their lack of pass rush, they’ve shown some willingness to blitz against bad offensive lines (the last example being Dallas), and that’ll be interesting to see if the Cardinals go for that again against Tua. On the back end, the Cardinals corners (including Patrick Peterson) have struggled this year — and because of that I expect DeVante Parker to be open often.
The Cardinals offense is top 10 in both DVOA and EPA/play. Kyler Murray is the 11th best QB by PFF grades — he’s been solid as both a passer and a highly efficient runner. The interior of the offensive line is weak, but the tackle positions have been much improved compared to recent years. DeAndre Hopkins should get peppered with targets, with old man Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk getting in the mix. The Dolphins defense, to their credit, has been a huge surprise this year — they’re 11th in DVOA and 6th in EPA/play. Their secondary in particular has played very well the last few weeks, and they’ve been able to scheme up pressure without having dominant edge rushers who can win one on one.