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Titans @ Chiefs; 2:05pm CT
Pick #1: Titans +7
Action: 63% of bets on Chiefs, 59% of money on Chiefs
Line movement note: This opened at Titans +7.5 but dropped to +7 despite the majority of bets being placed on the Chiefs. Sharp money is on the Titans.
This game has a WIDE range of potential outcomes. Even though the line is Chiefs -7, these teams match up in a way that will likely yield an extreme result that significantly deviates from the line. The Titans could win this game outright or they could get blown out.
The same could be said about each team: their offense is their best defense. Kansas City will look for explosive pass plays against Tennessee's weak secondary to gain a double-digit lead and force the Titans to pass, while Tennessee will look to control the clock with Derrick Henry against Kansas City's weak run defense to keep the score close and limit Mahomes' opportunities. I'm leaning towards the latter.
As I told you last week, the Chiefs defense allows the run by design. They'll give opponents the short middle of the field so they can take away deep shots over the top and down the sidelines. This is why the Kansas City D matched up well against Houston last week, and it's also why they match up horrendously against Tennessee this week.
Knowing his defense can't stop the run and his best run-stuffer (Chris Jones) is hobbled, I'm sure Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo will take drastic measures in an attempt to slow down Derrick Henry. Here's the problem - we've seen this movie before. In the previous two weeks, Tractorcito plowed through quality defenses that had a weakness against the run despite those defenses stacking the shit out of the box (NE in the 2nd Half, BAL for the full game). The Chiefs will sell out to stop Henry but it won't matter.
The KC D has brutal linebackers and they can't set an edge. Henry will have his way up the middle AND on the outside. In freezing temps, he'll only gain momentum as he wears this defense out. And as soon as the Chiefs get caught leaning forward, Ryan Tannehill will hit the deep ball against a Chiefs secondary that is missing S Juan Thornhill, who is the main reason why KC defended explosive passing so well in the first place. This is a recipe for a Titans win, and that brings us one step closer to placing Mike Vrabel's meat on the chopping block.
As reported by our friends at the Huffington Post, Mike Vrabel was just kidding with his vow to cut off his penis for a Super Bowl win. Many would argue that this did not warrant clarification, but I'm still not buying it.
If Vrabel truly believes in his team, he would cut his dick off ASAP. There would be no greater display of supreme confidence than auto-dismemberment with two games yet to be played.
Imagine him giving the Ed Orgeron pregame "worm" speech, except at the end instead of pulling a worm out of his mouth it's his severed penis. He would have me running through brick walls until the end of time. And this would only benefit Vrabel - he'd be coaching with literally nothing to lose. Loose as a goose.
When Andy Reid greets him on the field before the game, upon the handshake Vrabel could look him in the eyes and slip him his cock like a wad of cash and say nothing. Titans by 10.
Insurance note: If you want to protect yourself from a Derrick Henry injury or a Chiefs offensive explosion, toss a small amount on the KC Alt line of -13.5 (+205). Again, if KC goes up by two scores, they'll only extend their lead. I think Tennessee covers, but this could soften the blow if shit goes south.
Packers @ Niners; 5:40pm CT
Pick #2: Niners -7.5
Action: 52% of bets on Niners, 54% of money on Niners
Line movement note: This opened at Niners -7 and moved up to -7.5, indicating both public and sharp favor for San Fran.
Last week, I told you to bet your life against the winner of the Seahawks/Packers game in the following week. Here we are - Green Bay is about to get smoked.
Very simply, the Packers are ordinary. They are average in nearly all offensive and defensive statistical categories. Defensively, they are opportunistic, but they surrender significant yardage down-to-down (19th in yards/play allowed). Offensively, everyone freaks out about Aaron Rodgers, but the reality is that he has played very conservatively, mostly because he can only rely on two skill position players. This is why Green Bay ranks 17th in yards per play and 18th in explosive play rate. They do not belong in an NFC championship game.
Conversely, the Niners are truly exceptional. With the return of key defenders at each level (Tartt, Alexander, Ford) to a unit that was already Top-5 in the league, we're looking at a Super Bowl winning defense. And offensively, Jimmy G doesn't get respect, but he leads one of the most dynamic and explosive offenses in the NFL. Get your SF +165 Super Bowl futures bet in now.
The only way Green Bay can keep this game close is if San Fran has catastrophic turnovers. The problem is that the Niners can move the ball on the Pack while taking minimal risk. Unlike Green Bay, the Niners have a multitude of skill position players that can reliably get 5-10 yards on any given play while safely operating close to the line of scrimmage (Garoppolo ranks 37th out of 39 qualifying QBs in intended air yards per pass attempt). With San Fran not needing to air the ball out downfield to sustain drives, the Green Bay D will go from "opportunistic" to "bad".
The Niners D will get pressure with 4 and double Adams downfield, which will force a conservative Rodgers out of his comfort zone to take risks with significantly less-talented receiving options. This will require consistent tight-window completions to players that can't get separation - even with Aaron Rodgers, this is not sustainable. And given that Aaron Jones isn't much of a pass blocker, Green Bay will be tipping their hand on run (Aaron Jones) or pass (Jamaal Williams) pre-snap. This is all too easy for the Niners D.
And lastly, Rodgers has been atrocious on the road. You wouldn't be able to tell from his unwavering serial-killer facial expression (I haven't seen him blink since Week 2), but he has been a mess outside of Lambeau. He's rocking 6.1 yards/attempt at opposing stadiums, which would rank 25th among NFL team averages this season. And over his two starts in his home state of California this season, the Packers have been outscored 63-19 (Chargers and Niners). Maybe he's too close to the family he abandoned?
I'm not here to play psychologist, I'm here to make money. For Rodgers and the Pack, the wheels fall off today, as we approach a decade since Rodgers' last Super Bowl appearance.
Well, better luck next year.