Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week 4 NFL Predictions 2011: Teaser of the Week


As a rule of thumb it's best to only include teams in teasers that cross the critical numbers and limit them to 2 teams per.  There are always exceptions to the norm, but this method provides the most value. 

Check out the Sportsbook Review Football Teaser Odds Chart to find out what book will offer you the best value.

New Orleans Saints -1 & Philadelphia Eagles -2.5

A lot of places are keeping PHI at -9 to keep them out of the teaser window.  Teasing them down with a 6.5 point tease is an option at less value, or you could substitute PHI for DET if you can find DET at +1.5 or better.  

The only reason I'm not taking NO -7 is due to the fact that they haven't been a great road team since winning the Super Bowl.  Outside of that, I like everything about this matchup for NO.  

Colston is back which gives Brees another option in the passing game.  He can now spread the ball around to Henderson, Graham (tied for the league lead in big plays among tight ends), Moore, and Meachem.  Three receivers have 20+ targets this year.  Throw in 3 running backs who are getting the job done and I don't see any way how JAX keep them under 20 points. JAX can't rush the passer whatsoever and even if they could they are going up against one of the better O-lines in the league. Sproles has been better than expected and adds an X-factor to this offense as well.  JAX's defense isn't a poor group, but they haven't faced anything like this in 2011.  


I don't think Gabbert has what it takes to come from behind either.  They have been absolutely pitiful getting points from long drives and controlling the clock.  In fact, NO has over 3 times as many points from sustained drives than JAX.  MJD is running well, but he won't be much use if they are down multiple scores.  No one outside of Mike Thomas is getting a lot of targets and Gregg Williams knows how to attack a rookie QB.  


In the other matchup the Eagles have attempted to fix a couple of their problems on defense. Out are Coleman and Mathews, in are Allen and Rolle.  I was a huge fan of Nate Allen last year until he got a serious knee injury.  He isn't all the way back from that yet, but he can't be much worse than Coleman at safety.  Mathews might have potential down the road, but he's just not ready for prime-time yet.  Rolle seems to have a better grasp on the scheme at this point, but he'll need to prove it on the field this Sunday.  I knew PHI would have problems to sort out to start the year, but I didn't think it would cost them games given the level of coaching and talent throughout the rest of the lineup.


Yet, in this game we have the single worst offense in the NFL coming to town.  SF rank dead last in points from long drives per game and now Gore is less than 100% with an ankle injury.  They will still try to run the ball against a soft run defense, but at some point in this game Alex Smith is going to need to make plays.  How is that going to happen?  Edwards is out and Crabtree is an enigma.  Their best chance is to attack over the middle with Davis, but that is only going to work so many times. The biggest concern SF will have is how to handle PHI's defensive front.  This mismatch will dictate a lot of the play.


I give credit to Harbaugh for keeping his team out on the East coast this week in an attempt to get acclimated to the time zone, but they'll need more than coaching gimmicks to come away with a win or a cover.  His defense has played very well on 3rd down and in the red zone, but these stats have come at the expense of a relatively weak schedule. Maclin will be suit up despite a hamstring issue this week and there are too many weapons to account for over the course of 60 minutes.  Vick's hand is messed up, but PHI only need about 20 points to take care of business.  Given the way McCoy is running this year, PHI is no longer the one-dimensional pass-happy team they were in year's past.  They have triple the amount of points from long drives and controlled time of possession in all 3 of their games.  PHI desperately need the win to get back on track and a lowly SF team came along at just the right time.  Prediction: Bank NO -1 & PHI -2.5.