Las Vegas @ LA Chargers
Recommended Wager: LAC -1.5
Wager sizing: 1 unit
Las Vegas Raiders: (Week 6 bye)
-LT Kolton Miller (ankle) did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.
-DE Arden Key (foot) is was INACTIVE week 8 after missing practice all week.
-DT Maurice Hurst (ankle) did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.
-DE Arden Key (foot) did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.
-S Jonathan Abram (illness) did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.
IR: WR Tyrell Williams (shoulder), LG Richie Incognito (Achilles – short term), RT Trent Brown (COVID-19), DT Maurice Hurst (COVID-19), CB Nevin Lawson (suspension), CB Damon Arnette (thumb/COVID-19), S Jonathan Abram (COVID-19)
Los Angeles Chargers: (Week 6 bye)
-RG Trai Turner (groin) was INACTIVE weeks 3 – 8. He returned to practice for the first time this week as limited.
-DE Joey Bosa (concussion) was injured week 8. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.
IR: TE Virgil Green (ankle), RB Austin Ekeler (hamstring), C Mike Pouncey (hip), DE Melvin Ingram III (knee — short term), DE Justin Jones (shoulder — short term), LB Drue Tranquill (ankle), CB Chris Harris (ankle), S Derwin James (knee)
Spread watching: This line has moved away from the model and is down to a pick em. As always, we trust the model over line movement.
Keys to the game: The Vegas offense has been surprisingly efficient, ranking 13th in DVOA and 6th in EPA/play. Derek Carr is sitting at 24th in PFF passing grades, but the passing attack is been where the success has been – ranking 8th in DVOA. TE Darren Waller continues to be a target hog – he leads the team with 58 targets. It’s odd focusing so much on a tight end, but teams need to recognize that Waller is the best receiving option on this offense. Two WR sets will typically feature Nelson Agholor and rookie Henry Ruggs — Agholor is painfully inconsistent (targets of 2, 9, and 2 in his last 3 games), and Ruggs has dealt with injuries and is still rounding into form. The Chargers on defense are 15th in DVOA and 9th in EPA/play. The best part of their defense is typically their pass rush, but Joey Bosa is in danger of missing after a concussion last week. The Chargers did get torched by Travis Kelce week 2, who put up a 9/90/1 line on 12 targets.
The Chargers offense is 11th in DOVA and 27th in EPA/play, but it’s all about Justin Herbert. Herbert is 13th in PFF grades, but his volatility is what makes or breaks a game. His aggressiveness and willingness to throw the ball downfield is a recipe for success in the NFL, but it can also lead to some ugly turnovers. Similar to how the Chargers need to dedicate resources to stopping Waller, the Raiders will need to figure out how to slow down Keenan Allen. Herbert loves throwing the ball to Keenan Allen more than you love your own mother. If you take out week 5, where Allen left after just 12 snaps, his target counts in each Herbert started game are 10 > 17 > 11 > 13 > 11. This will be a tall task for a Vegas defense that ranks 31st in DVOA and 30th in EPA/play and doesn’t have a single corner with a PFF grade over 60.
Denver @ Atlanta
Recommended Wager: ATL -4.0
Wager sizing: 1 unit
Denver Broncos: (Week 5 bye)
-WR Tim Patrick (hamstring) was injured week 7 and INACTIVE week 8. He was questionable leading up to week 8, but did not practice. He returned to practice this week as limited and is QUESTIONABLE.
-CB AJ Bouye (concussion) was injured week 8. He is OUT after not practicing all week.
IR: WR Courtland Sutton (ACL – season ending), T Ja’Wuan James (opt out), DE DeMarcus Walker (calf), DT Kyle Peko (opt out), DT Dre’Mont Jones (knee – short term), DT Jurrell Casey (biceps — season ending), DT Mike Purcell (foot – season ending), DE Shelby Harris (COVID-19), OLB Von Miller (ankle), LB Mark Barron (hamstring)
Atlanta Falcons: (Week 10 bye)
-WR Calvin Ridley (ankle) was injured week 8. He did not practice all week, and is expected to miss this game and return after the Falcons week 10 bye. He is officially QUESTIOANBLE.
-DE Dante Fowler (hamstring) is OUT after missing practice all week.
-DE Tak McKinley (groin) is OUT after missing practice all week.
-CB Kendall Sheffield (head) was injured week 8.
IR: CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), S Damontae Kazee (Achilles)
Spread watching: The spread continues to stick at 4.
Keys to the game: The Broncos have one of the worst offenses in football, ranking 31st in DVOA and EPA/play. Luckily for them, they’re playing a Falcons defense that sits at 22nd in DVOA and 24th in EPA/play. The reason for the Broncos offensive issues is the QB – Drew Lock sits at 34th in the league in PFF passing grades among 38 qualifiers. I would expect them to get back Tim Patrick (questionable, hamstring) who is third on the team in targets with 33. I expect Patrick and rookie Jerry Jeudy to match up well against the Falcons awful secondary, where Grady Jarrett and the Falcons pass rush have an advantage against the Broncos bad pass protecting unit.
On the other side, the Falcons are 23rd in DVOA and 10th in EPA/play. As always, when there’s a big difference between the two stats it’s usually because DVOA has opponent adjustments — the Falcons have had the second easiest schedule of opposing defenses so far this season. They’ll also be without WR Calvin Ridley, who injured his ankle last week. On the other side, the Broncos (7th in DVOA, 10th in EPA/play) will be without CB AJ Bouye. That leaves the Falcons with Julio Jones — maybe you’ve heard of him — and the Falcons with CB Bryce Callahan. Callahan is 2nd among all corners in PFF grades at 87.3, but he hasn’t shadowed once this year. With Bouye out, Julio should get plenty of looks against some of the Broncos lesser corners. In general, it should be a tough matchup for Matt Ryan, who’s had an up and down year, but can still be a force when he’s on his game.