Friday, October 12th, 2018

Gridiron Cheat Sheet – Week 6


Gridiron Cheat Sheet – Week 6

Gridiron NFL, NFL Betting

The NFL might be about to hit London, but we’re still bringing you nuggets for every game, in association with RedZone Sports…


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) @ Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)

  • The Falcons have won the last 3 matchups
  • Tampa are 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 after a bye
  • Neither team coming off the bye last week covered the spread
  • After coming back from injury last week, Devonta Freeman is back on the injury report with a new foot injury and it isn’t clear if he plays. Also carrying a foot injury, Matt Ryan had an x-ray last week but will be playing through
  • After Ryan Fitzpatrick fell apart in the first half against the Bears, Jameis Winston came in to steady the ship. Winston is back as the starter with a bye week to prepare, but there’s a tough 4 week stretch ahead.
  • Cameron Brate and OJ Howard have nearly the same number of pass routes run but, with Howard out for a couple of weeks, Brate’s target share should increase

Pittsburgh Steelers (+1.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5)

  • The Steelers have won their last 6 matchups
  • Since 2016, the Steelers are 5-9 and the Bengals 8-5 against the spread in divisional games
  • The Steelers have given away the most penalty yards of any team this year and giving away a massive 155 and 116 in their two road games
  • As expected, CJ Uzomah seems to be the Bengals’ receiving TE now, running 3 times as many routes as Tyler Kroft and having two targets to Kroft’s zero
  • The Steelers are ranked 25th against the tight end, which should offer Uzomah opportunities

Los Angeles Chargers (+1) @ Cleveland Browns (-1)

  • Increasing wind speed directly correlates with fewer points scored, need to monitor closer to kickoff if it is expected to break the 15mph mark
  • With back-to-back overtime games and now three on the year, the Browns’ defense has played the joint most snaps in the league and 28% more than the Rams defense – this could lead to fatigue in weeks 9 and 10 before their late bye week
  • It goes without saying, but it’s a good job the Chargers have Philip Rivers, who covers up for offensive line deficiencies with his 121.2 QB rating when under pressure, and he’s pressured the 9th most QB of the league
  • The Browns are a top 10 defense by nearly all metrics, but they are in desperate need of some tackling lessons, with 64 missed tackles in five weeks, the most by nearly 20%
  • Chargers special teams coordinator George Stewart has put together the best kick/punt coverage unit in the league so far

Buffalo Bills (+10) @ Houston Texans (-10)

  • There have been whispers of the Bills trading LeSean McCoy to the Eagles but, given their game scripts and OL, it isn’t likely to make a huge difference to their season if they do let him go.
  • Deshaun Watson is the most pressured QB so far this season, with pressure on 46% of his dropbacks. He seems to be banged up but looks like he will play
  • Josh Allen continues to be the worst QB under pressure by a long way and could be in trouble against strong front sevens
  • However, Houston aren’t one of those teams, currently ranked 23rd in pass rush, with only JJ Watt getting consistent QB pressure

Chicago Bears (-3.5) @ Miami Dolphins (+3.5)

  • The Bears are only 3-6-1 against the spread in their last 10 games after a bye. Neither team off the bye last week covered the spread
  • Chicago’s home/road away splits could not be more contrasting against the spread; since the start of 2016 they are 12-5-1 at home and 6-12 away
  • Miami lost Laremy Tunsil to a concussion last week. His replacement, Sam Young, allowed more QB pressures in his 26 snaps than Tunsil has all year. He is a big loss if he doesn’t go
  • Before the bye, Mitchell Trubisky played the best game of his career against the weak Tampa defense, with 13.6 yards per attempt and 6 touchdowns

Arizona Cardinals (+10) @ Minnesota Vikings (-10)

  • The Vikings lost their tackle Riley Reiff during last week’s game and he is questionable this week with a foot injury
  • However, some offensive linemen injuries are more important than others. With rearrangement and Brian O’Neill coming in, it is only a small downgrade, especially against a weak Cardinals DL
  • Dalvin Cook and his 2.7 yards per attempt, looks set to miss again. Latavius Murray should get the bulk of the carries but has also been ineffective this season
  • Arizona are a shocking 3-9-1 since the start of 2016 against the spread after a win
  • Despite the Browns playing three overtime games this year, the Arizona defense has run the same number of snaps, making regression for the Cardinals less likely
  • Arizona continue to use David Johnson ineffectively, 69% of his runs are right down the middle and only 23% of runs on first down have graded successfully
  • Kirk Cousins has been pressured a lot this year (43% of dropbacks), second of the Week 5 starters behind Watson, but his performance under pressure has been staggering so far, with a QB rating of 98.4 – a similar level to Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in 2017 and 2016 respectively
  • Arizona can’t seem to decide if Christian Kirk is an outside or slot receiver, with his weekly slot percentages at 45, 77, 16, 53, 50%

Indianapolis Colts (+2) @ New York Jets (-2)

  • TY Hilton missed last week and is doubtful again this week. Without him, Chester Rodgers had the most targets of the wide receivers out of the slot
  • It continues to be feast or famine for Isaiah Crowell, going nuts against Denver last week with 231 yards and two touchdowns
  • The Colts continue to struggle to run the ball, Marlon Mack can’t get fit, Nyheim Hines is a pass-catching RB and their leading rusher, Jordan Wilkins, is averaging 35 yards per game. Maybe it should be the Colts who are trying to trade for Shady McCoy…
  • The Colts are sneaky efficient at rushing the passer this year, ranked 5th in adjusted sack rate

Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) @ Oakland Raiders (+2.5)

  • The first London game of the season. Overs has hit 11 of the last 16 games held on this side of the pond
  • With Earl Thomas done for the season, Tedric Thompson stepped in at safety and, maybe surprisingly, looked more than competent against the high-powered Rams offense, grading the 4th best safety of the week. The two missed tackles may be slightly concerning
  • The Seahawks first round draft pick, running back Rashad Penny, had zero snaps in Week 5
  • The Raiders are the worst rush OL at yards until the running back is contacted (average 1.7 yards). This highlights the great start to the season Marshawn Lynch has had
  • Lynch’s usage is directly linked to game script however, with Jalen Richard preferred if they are behind

Carolina Panthers (+1.5) @ Washington Redskins (-1.5)

  • The Panthers may get Greg Olsen back this week
  • Ryan Kalil came out of the game last week with a niggle to his recurring neck injury. If he doesn’t play they will be without two of their starting OL with Daryl Williams already on IR
  • Adrian Peterson dislocated his shoulder last week against the Saints which limited his carries in the second half, he is likely to play through it but may see a reduced workload
  • The Panthers get Thomas Davis back from suspension and, while Shaq Thomas has been fine while he was unavailable, the bottom five ranked defense needs a shot in the arm and Davis’ energy could give them it
  • Christian McCaffrey really has turned in to an all-purpose back, the Panthers use him how they think he will best exploit the defense. With carry number in four games of 10/8/28/17 and receiving targets of 9/14/2/6
  • The Panthers have the top ranked run blocking OL. The Redskins are ranked 30th against the run and ninth against the pass catching running back

Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) @ Denver Broncos (-6.5)

  • The forecast is that this will be the first snow game of the year
  • Marquette King, the third ranked punter in 2017, has struggled this year. It turns out he’s been working through an abductor injury, has now been placed on IR and released
  • Denver lost their starting tackle Garett Bolles in the game last week and it isn’t clear if he plays. The other tackle, Jared Veldheer, didn’t play last week and may not play again this week
  • The Rams have played the second-easiest schedule of rush offenses so far, but still only rank 16th overall and 28th opponent adjusted. In the next six games, they play four top 10 rushing teams, including Denver who are first in defense adjusted rush rank
  • If neither Bolles or Veldheer play, it will mean back-ups (Billy Turner and Elijah Wilkinson) at both tackle positions for the Broncos against this formidable Rams rush. Luckily for them, most of the pressure comes up the middle with Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, rather than from the edge
  • The Rams lost both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp to concussions during last week’s win in Seattle. If either miss out, Josh Reynolds is the next man up

Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) @ Dallas Cowboys (+3)

  • Jacksonville are likely without Leonard Fournette again this week. They also lose Corey Grant with a foot injury for the year
  • They have signed Jamaal Charles to at least cover for a TJ Yeldon injury, releasing Brandon Wilds, who has 62 yards from scrimmage in three years in the NFL
  • Increasing wind speed directly correlates with fewer points scored, need to monitor closer to kickoff if it is expected to break the 15mph mark
  • With the investment in the OL and at RB, Dallas are the number one team over the last five years when needing one yard – maybe don’t punt at the opponents 42 on 4th-and-1 with 5:40 left in overtime?

Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) @ Tennessee Titans (+2.5)

  • The Ravens are in a bad spot in the schedule. Not only is this their third road game on the bounce, the previous two were divisional road games
  • The Titans lost starting tackle Taylor Lewan in the first half last week and it isn’t clear how serious it is. Tyler Marz came in at left tackle to replace him last week, with 96 snaps in his career it’s fair to say he would be a concern against Terrell Suggs
  • The returning Jimmy Smith was only on the field for 44% of Baltimore’s defensive snaps last week, I would expect his usage to steadily increase
  • The Titans have sneakily been brilliant after a loss, 7-1 against the spread since the start of 2017
  • The Titans pass offense ranks 27th, the Ravens pass defense ranks 4th

Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5) @ New England Patriots (-3.5)

  • The Chiefs are both the only team still unbeaten, and the only team unbeaten against the spread
  • The Patriots are the most consistent performing team at home in the last two seasons, with a record of 17-6 against the spread
  • Sony Michel took every handoff for the Patriots last week, whilst James White was targeted 13 times out of the backfield. I would expect this to continue
  • Julian Edelman came directly in from his suspension for 8 targets out of the slot
  • If there is something negative to say about the Cheifs offense so far this season, it’s Kareem Hunt running the ball. The explosive passing offense should open things up for the run game but he is down on last year, I can’t help but think this will regress at some stage

San Francisco 49ers (+9.5) @ Green Bay Packers (-9.5)

  • Mason Crosby possibly had the worst game of any Packers kicker in history last week, missing four field goals and an extra point that almost certainly cost them the game
  • Matt Breida, who has looked capable in the backfield for the 49ers this year, went out of the game last week with an ankle injury. It isn’t yet clear how serious it is
  • San Francisco’s defense has focused heavily on stopping the opponents’ WR1 in the passing game this year, and one suspects they will do this same again this week against Davante Adams, if Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison miss again
  • With Cobb and Allison out, Marquez Valdes-Scantling saw 10 targets out of the slot last week
  • It may be a tougher ask this week against K’Waun Williams, but Equanimeous St. Brown (or Allison if he plays) may have some splash plays when in single coverage against Jimmie Ward

Got a question or comment, or want to ask about the stats of a specific match-up, then hit up @UKBenThe12 on Twitter


Rams (-6.5) OVER Broncos…. 25/27
Bears (-3) OVER Dolphins…. 25/28
Falcons (-3.5) OVER Buccaneers…. 50/51


OVER 43 points – Cardinals @ Vikings…. 10/11
UNDER 41 points – Ravens @ Titans…. 25/27
4+ sacks – Jaguars @ Cowboys…. 1/3


Both quarterbacks OVER 249.5 passing yards – Seahawks @ Raiders (Wembley)

ODDS: 15/8

(odds correct at the time of publishing)

RedZone Sports are unique in that they set their own NFL betting lines, rather than simply following those from Las Vegas. To see what all the fuss is about, check them out!

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