by Walter Football
We are partnering with Walter Football this season who puts out insightful football analysis and wanted to show how these insights can be applied to winning theSCOREX:NFL FREE contest for $5k or your own league that you set up with your friends or coworkers.
Here are Walt’s Buys and Sells (from Walter’s Overrated/Underrated)
Note: the dollar change is from Week 3 to Week 4.
Dallas Cowboys ($16.41 +$1.86)
I didn’t think I’d have to list the Cowboys as overrated. However, they’re a public dog at Houston. Also, the FOX play-by-play guy had this to say during the game:
“This is starting to look like 2016!”
Really? Because of a two-point victory over a pedestrian Detroit team? Talk about an overreaction!
Here’s the reality of what happened Sunday: A sub-par Dallas team beat a sub-par Detroit team by two points. No big deal.
Here’s how the public thinks happened Sunday: The Cowboys beat the team that crushed the Patriots, so they must be great, and it’s like 2016 all over again, yeah!
No. Sorry. The Cowboys aren’t bad, but they’re certainly not good, especially without Sean Lee. Despite the Leighton Vander Esch addition, Dallas had plenty of breakdowns in the back seven, which is discouraging.
Green Bay Packers ($21.01 +$2.09)
Aaron Rodgers is definitely not nearly himself. He missed so many throws against the Bills that he normally would make in his sleep. The Packers crushed Buffalo because Josh Allen imploded, but the way Rodgers is playing right now, they will have trouble topping the Bears in the division.
One caveat: Rodgers, at some point, will improve his health. There’s a good chance the Packers will be a dangerous Super Bowl contender by December, though I can’t really say that with certainty because it’s unknown how severe Rodgers’ knee injury really is.
The Rams look unstoppable. But be wary of teams that appear that way on national TV. They can often disappoint afterward because they’re way overvalued. Remember the Eagles from numerous years ago with their controversial quarterback when they couldn’t be stopped against the Redskins? That’s what the Rams’ win over Minnesota felt like.
The Rams seem like they’re the best team in the NFL, and Sean McVay reminds me of a young Jim Harbaugh when he began coaching the 49ers; he just has so much energy and out-game plans everyone. However, the Rams have beaten four teams that are a combined 4-11-1. Because looking at numbers is lazy, let’s analyze the wins:
– Rams beat the Raiders after trailing at halftime. Oakland’s only win thus far came via horrible officiating versus a rookie quarterback making his first start.
– Rams shut out the Cardinals, who were nearly blanked at home the week before versus the Redskins.
– Rams beat the Chargers by 12. The same Chargers who nearly lost to C.J. Beathard.
– Rams defeated the Vikings by seven. Minnesota tied the Packers and a hobbled Aaron Rodgers and then was blown out by Buffalo. Plus, some poor officiating buried the Vikings.
I understand that the Rams seem unstoppable, but that’s precisely what makes them overrated.
Minnesota Vikings ($20.77 -$0.96)
I’ve been down on the Vikings the whole summer, betting a prop on them to not make the playoffs this year at +240. However, I didn’t anticipate that they’d be this bad. Kirk Cousins has played great, and his receivers are outstanding, but the Vikings struggle in many areas. They have trouble covering downfield against receivers that Xavier Rhodes isn’t blanketing. They can’t cover the middle of the field because their linebackers struggle against the pass. They can’t block because their offensive line sucks. Now, the cherry on top is Everson Griffen’s condition, which has to be weighing on the minds of his teammates.
The Vikings seem on the verge of imploding. They have a tough battle coming up against the Eagles, and if they lose that game, they’ll be 1-3-1 and well behind every team in the division.
Chicago Bears ($19.88 +$1.52)
The Bears are the NFL’s true dark-horse team. They went 5-11 last year, but were very competitive in many of their losses. They would’ve beaten the Falcons in Week 1 had Jordan Howard not dropped a touchdown at the very end of the game. They nearly vanquished the Vikings on Monday Night Football. They were the closest team to defeating Jimmy Garoppolo, losing by just a point thanks to a last-second Robbie Gould field goal. Meanwhile, they beat the Steelers and Panthers at home, and they won in Baltimore.
All of this occurred with a rookie quarterback, a lame-duck coach and a horrific receiving corps. Now, Mitchell Trubisky has experience and some talented wideouts to throw to. Also, Chicago’s offensive line is excellent, while its defense could be dominant this year if Roquan Smith is as good as advertised. Chicago’s stop unit was very good last year when star linebacker Danny Trevathan wasn’t hurt, and Smith and Khalil Mack can only help matters.
The Bears lost to the Packers amid an amazing Aaron Rodgers comeback, but don’t forget that they had a double-digit lead prior to Rodgers suffering an injury. The fact that they came up short will mean that the public will continue to underestimate how good they are. Two weeks ago, they nearly lost to Arizona, but Sunday of Week 3 was a day of shocking results. The Bears were flat following their big Monday night victory, but the fact that they overcame the lethargy and still won is impressive to me. It was no surprised that the Bears thrashed the Buccaneers. Despite that win, I don’t think people understand how good Chicago is yet.
Cincinnati Bengals ($19.09 +$2.18)
The Bengals were very lucky in their first two games. They may have lost to the Colts had Jack Doyle not fumbled in the red zone on Indianapolis’ final real drive, while the Ravens lost because C.J. Mosley, Baltimore’s best defensive player, was carted off the field on the opening defensive possession. Cincinnati’s luck finally ran out in Week 3, with the ball not bouncing their way and A.J. Green going down with an injury. The Bengals were locked up in a tight battle against the Panthers prior to Green going down, so his injury made a big difference.
So, why is a team that was lucky in two games and unlucky in the third underrated? Because the Bengals will be getting their star linebacker Vontaze Burfict back from suspension this week. The Bengals have played much worse defensively without Burfict over the years, so their stop unit will improve markedly once Burfict returns to action.
It’s rare that a defending Super Bowl champion is underrated, but that happens to be the case this week, just as it was leading up to Week 1. The Eagles lost at Tennessee, and now the public is betting against them in their matchup versus Minnesota.
I’ve been talking about how the Eagles have looked complacent for most of this season. I believe they’re just going through the motions early in the year, as elite teams are wont to do. Philadelphia will be better as the year progresses, especially with Carson Wentz improving his health each week. The Eagles should’ve beaten the Titans anyway, but suffered some bad luck and saw Marcus Mariota make some incredible plays in overtime.