Week three had some really bad beats that costed us on some of our picks. Like Haskins having turnovers late in the game against a four-man pass rush to not cover ten points, for example. Or when Tennessee couldn’t cash in on touchdowns, Gostkowski kicked six field goals for the win, but was unable to cover. And don’t get me started on what the sorry ass Falcons did against the Bears. But not all weeks are gonna be winners. Now if you do want the most up-to-date winners from the RahlReviews team, check out the @RahlBets account on Twitter. Each week, the guys and I will be throwing out our favorite spreads and O/U to get some extra coin in our pockets. Last week we went 7-2 as a team and even hit a nice little three-team parlay. Now there a ton of goofy lines out there this Sunday that have me a little hesitant. I do think Arizona is better than the Jets, but are they seven points better? It’s hard to say because every time I’m on board with that team, they let me down. Not to mention with all of the COVID cases popping up, some games will get canceled or pushed back to later in the season. So let’s just look at my favorite bets of this week as well as the ones I believe have the highest chance of playing this Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles 1-2-1 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 3-0 (-7)
That was a HUGE win for Philly. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say, but I would think a lot of fans in Philadelphia started to count this season as over after the tie with Cincinnati. Before last week they were getting outscored 49-13 in the second half. That tells me that other teams were making the proper halftime adjustments, while Philly just got complacent. Wentz has looked suspect all year, with his lead league-leading 7 interceptions this season. Now, he is playing with the backups to the backups at wide receiver. His normal go-to target in Ertz just looks washed up right now. Hopefully, Goedert can come back soon off IR and give this team some athleticism. That or find someone to actually block for Miles Sanders. Each game you see him have to make one or two guys miss in the backfield before actually being able to gain any yardage. Still, he is averaging 4.6 YPC so maybe a big game is coming. But this team is being carried by that defense and that pass rush. With a league-leading 17 sacks, the defense is showing it can be leaned on. Slay is adding something to that secondary that they dearly missed. But will the NFC East-leading Eagles really be able to keep up with the juggernaut in Pittsburgh? Any Pittsburgh fan that wants to say that Roethlisburger is no good, can just exit the city now. You’re seeing what it truly means to have a franchise QB. With just one turnover and seven touchdowns, Ben is bringing life back to this offense in Pittsburgh. We are seeing the rookie Claypool dominate the big plays for them. Juju is back to looking like a number one receiver. Ebron took on an expanded role two weeks ago against the Texans. Philadelphia is a bottom-five defense defending the tight end position so I expect a big game. One big question I have is, will this front seven get five sacks on Sunday? I mean, they are looking every bit as fierce as they were last year. I know that signing Bud seems like a lot but the pressure that he and T.J. are putting on the QB is ranked at the top of the league. They rank second and third when it comes to getting to the quarterback in two seconds or less. Stephon Tuitt ranks fourth to round out the best D-Line in football. Last year they carried a mediocre offense to 8-8 and this year I can see a reality where the Steelers win 13 games. Pittsburgh will be getting those five sacks and possibly more. Wentz hasn’t looked good all year and I don’t think the best defense in the league is gonna help him out. Maybe two interceptions to pair with those sacks. Seven points is a lot but this is a game that Pittsburgh should handle them. Give me the points and give me Pittsburgh to cement the fact that they are the best team in PA.
Carolina Panthers 2-2 (-2) @ Atlanta Falcons 0-4
Can I get a HELL YEAH for my man Matt Rhule. No one thought this team would be .500 and especially not without the best running back in the league. Teddy B has been connecting with Robby Anderson a lot and it’s working out for them. He is top five in receptions, top ten in yards, and second in YAC. This is supposed to be the D.J. Moore show but the 2020 free-agent class is making the most of their opportunity. Now Mike Davis is no CMC, but he is also doing a damn good job in his absence. He is getting designed screens and hitting holes with determination. His 4.4 YPC is nice for a backup and the coaching staff has the confidence in him to get the job done. The defense still has a lot of work to do but they were supposed to be the worst rushing defense coming into this year and they have made improvements to be at 21st. All in all, I see a team that doesn’t get enough respect. I have made some good change on this team and I don’t think that stops this Sunday. Atlanta on the other hand might be the most disappointing team in the league. Three out of the four games they have given up 20+ points in the second half. That includes a huge meltdown against Chicago that brought the fans in Atlanta to tears. The injuries in the secondary are really showing the lack of depth on the roster. Dan Quinn is on the hot seat because he is supposed to be a defensive-minded coach, yet they haven’t been a good defense in his tenure. Julio and Matt have a very small window and I think it’s gonna close on them this year. Julio has been fighting injuries all year but, unlike the past, he isn’t really producing a hike playing through them. Calvin Ridley looks to be the top option on this team for good reason. His routes are so clean, his 2.6 drop percentage ranks at the top, alongside matching his red zone numbers from the last two years but instead doing so in just four games. And he has to be good because the team doesn’t run the ball well. TGIII looks off. I don’t know if they are scared he will get injured or not, but he appears as though he’s a shell of himself. I’m not saying that he is done, but this is not the Rookie of The Year from 2016. Maybe you can blame it on a suspect line but something just isn’t right with him. I’ve gotten flack in the past for picking the Panthers to cover and I don’t see it happening this time. People are starting to believe. Atlanta hasn’t done much to prove that they are worthy of a bet. I think this game will be close but Carolina can march down the field and win on a field goal late. Carolina to win and put some money on that second half.
Jacksonville Jaguars 1-3 @ Houston Texans (-5.5) 0-4
Do you believe in Minshew Mania? I don’t know why you wouldn’t. He ranks 8th in passing yards, 6th in touchdowns and his quarterback rating is 13th. Now those aren’t top tier numbers but he wasn’t supposed to be a top tier QB. He was supposed to be the backup to Foles last year but he is already a way better quarterback and this year he had the job with no one to take it from him. The fans love him, the team believes in him and so does the coaching staff. He isn’t being treated with kid gloves. He is being asked to go out and ball with a group of suspect talent around him. D.J. Chark was battling a chest injury but, when healthy, he has really shown that he is a number one receiver. Getting nine targets last week and converting those into two touchdowns was key for them. The emergence of James Robinson has also been great for them. He was undrafted out of college but if you watch his tape you have to wonder why. His matchup against the worst run defense in the league looks juicy. We are gonna really see what he is all about I think on Sunday. Houston has finally gotten rid of the man who has been holding them back for these passed couple of years. The worst thing they did was give that man the general manager role and have control of the ins and outs of that roster. The Tunsil trade was awful, the DHop trade was atrocious and ultimately set this franchise back five years. With holes all over the field they have no first round picks to get the talent needed. Tunsil was brought in to improve that line and keep Watson upright and that just isn’t the case. He ranks top 5 in every category connected to QB pressure. And I know, you can’t blame one guy for the fault of the entire line. But they brought him in to make the line better and it’s simply just not. So yeah his zero sacks allowed are great, but the team as a whole is worse now. Bill is out of a job and will look back at how silly of a move that really was. Now look at what you’re getting out of Cooks and tell me that he was able to replace Hopkins. He doesn’t even get targeted and as a limited week at practice every week it seems. Will Fuller has been solid but he is only good to play maybe ten games so you can’t really rely on him. Now will this team be better with no Bill? Probably but it’s hard to say. He lead them to multiple division titles but he lost the locker room. Everything I read says the team loves Cronnel (who will be the oldest head coach in history at 73) and they want to win. Now the better question is, how is an 0-4 team who just lost their head coach a six-point favorite. The Jaguars are scrappy. They don’t quit just because they are losing because they really believe that they can compete. Plus with such a high O/U Vegas thinks that both defenses are bad. I like the Jags to cover the spread and to be honest, I might take them to win for the payout. This will be a long year for Houston but maybe they are finally taking a step to be better in the future but not in the near future.
Indianapolis Colts 3-1 @ Cleveland Browns 3-1 (EVEN)
You think at the beginning of the season, people would of thought this was the game of the week? The Colts know they are winners and the defense continues to prove it. They finally allowed a 200-yard passer but really they didn’t. A last-minute, 90-yard drive against prevent defense doesn’t count in my book. Foles could really only check the ball down or settle for close to the line of scrimmage throws. The coverage was stellar all game and the signing of Xavier Rhodes is really paying off. I talk about how great the Steelers defense is, but the Colts are just as good. The only thing holding them back is quarterback play. To me personally, Rivers has looked suspect all year. His inability to push the ball downfield is evident in T.Y. Hilton’s production. His best years are behind him with Andrew Luck out of the picture, but we all thought Rivers was gonna step in and lift this offense. Really, he is just smart with the ball, doesn’t take chances, and ultimately leans on that defense to win games. But that isn’t going to help them beat great teams. What happens if they are down early? Can Rivers actually push the ball and lead a scoring drive? This Sunday should be a real test to that. Maybe you forgot, but Kareem Hunt has lead the league in rushing before. Now with Chubb out, he will be seeing the bulk of that work. And to be honest, he probably won’t give it up when Chubb comes back. Hunt is really a three-down back with a career average of 4.8 YPC and the ability to catch the ball and make defenders miss in the open field. Kareem is now going to face his toughest test in sometime when he sees the Colts come to town. Indy ranks fourth in YPC and held Montgomery last week to just 28 yards. This team thrives when they can get a lead and just pound the rock. Because I don’t know if Baker is ready to lead this team to victory on his own. Dwayne Haskins, Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold and even Lamar Jackson have more passing yards than Baker. His minuscule 6.3 yards per attempt is not great. His big plays were screens or slants that the wide receivers take to the house for him. He isn’t looking like the worst QB from his draft class but he definitely wasn’t worthy of that number one overall pick. Still the team is winning. He doesn’t turn the ball over in bad situations. It will be interesting to see how this team progresses this year. Because as long as they win, he will keep his job. But does he really deserve it? Who really knows. So now let’s pick a winner. My gut is telling me that Indianapolis has the better defense with a coach I like just a little bit more. But we all saw what the Browns did to Dallas last week. They aren’t going to be putting up 40 points and if the game ends up in Baker’s hands because of some early Colts touchdowns, watch out. Maybe the game plan will change for the Browns but if they aren’t moving the ball on the ground, it’ll be a long game. Give me the Colts to Win and Rivers finally throws for 300 yards.