I know MIA is taking the world by storm right now, and rightfully so. Tua has been the second highest rated QB this season, and the duo of Waddle + Hill is impossible to contain. But, for some reason, Vegas has set the line more than a FG favorite toward CIN, so they know something that I don’t! Could be a hangover week for MIA.
Reflection: All the concern should be on Tua after this game, he never deserved to be in that spot. CIN covered and looked like the more rested, put together team but it was hard to celebrate this one.
BAL +3.5 (-110)
BAL has the highest rated QB this season in Lamar Jackson, leading an offense that he’s always been capable of scoring 30+ points with per game. BUF seems like the team to beat in the AFC, despite their loss down in MIA without all their secondary starters. I wouldn’t be surprised to see crazy good QB numbers in this game, but the fact again here is the line is set more in BAL favor than I would have anticipated, so I am leaning on them having a good outing against a great AFC contender.
ATL ML (+110)
CLE has shown to be a decent football team despite playing with their backup QB. Truth be told (look at the linked QB rankings), J. Brissett has played better than most other QB’s in the league! ATL is one of those ‘fun, but young and bad’ teams, which I think gives them a chance to put a few plays together that are enough to change the outcome of this one. Too close of a line when I think CLE clearly has the better roster/coach/scheme combination.
JAX ML (+220)
Eh, PHI could be the best team in the entire NFL (not enough conclusive evidence yet), but JAX has really turned some heads the past two weeks with incredible performances on both sides of the ball. Maybe there’s something to be said about D. Pederson coaching against PHI, where he won a super bowl. Or, maybe this is one of those games that the decision making and playmaking ability of T. Lawrence & J. Hurts will determine the outcome. I like juiced up underdogs like this, but never thought it would be JAX against a team as hot and loaded as PHI. Here goes nothing!
CAR ML (-120)
This is mostly a fade ARI play, because K. Murray is somewhat ineffective without playmaking WR’s (Hopkins/Kirk) and pass-catching RB’s (Edmonds). I don’t like betting to favor CAR, but I think this is another instance where I would have set the line probably -2.5 ARI, so it’s off enough for me to realize I’m not totally analyzing it correctly and someone with lots of information thinks CAR has an advantage.
To save time and debate, I created an objective answer to who the best QB in the NFL is right now. Below is the statistical ratings for each QB, and the categories/weights used to conduct the data analysis. For a more detailed and custom view, download the file below the embedded ratings.
The following chart illustrates the statistical relationship between variables and Win %, an important dependent variable in this case. These insights give us reason to use EPA, QBR, ANY/A, PFF grade and Passer Rating in our data model to measure QB performance.
While measuring the relationship to wins in the same season is valuable, identifying the relationship to predict future season data is extremely relevant in this case. This gives us ideas for the weight of each category (which can always be adjusted), and PFF grade should clearly be the highest. Followed by a substantial gap with EPA and ANY/A and finished off with QBR and Passer Rating.
BUF has steamrolled the competition in their last 16 wins, all of them coming by double digits or more. However, I think there’s something to be said about divisional opponents on the road, especially when MIA has the two fastest WR’s in the league. BUF just lost M. Hyde, a great safety that will surely cause some steps backward in their secondary. There was enough juice here to pull the trigger.
Reflection: Quite the game battled in the heat of Miami, but in the end this value paid off big time! The loss of starters on defense may have cost BUF just a few extra big plays that allowed MIA to take the lead and hold off the offense for just a few drives. MIA remains undefeated.
CAR ML (+116)
Carolina is a really bad football team with really bad coaches, but I can’t shake the feeling that NO should be favored by more in this game, with the better roster nearly top to bottom. That always tells me that Vegas knows something! And again, this is a road divisional opponent…
Reflection: CAR took control from the start and really never lost it. NO and Jameis look like they’re going down a road of many losses and questionable outcomes. CAR didn’t look too good either, and as a CMC fantasy owner, I’d love for him to catch some more passes.
MIN -6 (-110)
DET has been one of the surprising teams this year, especially offensively. This is a game that I feel like the spread should be closer to 3.5 rather than 6, so I see Vegas’ anticipating something happening and want to get on board with that. DET can run the ball against anyone, I just question if they’ll have any answer to MIN offense.
Reflection: Despite winning by more than a field goal, MIN failed to cover the points laid to them this week. DET controlled the first half of this game, J. Goff looked like Brady and MIN was stalling on offense for about an hour. Per usual though, DET defense broke down and the offense didn’t have the dynamic ability to get into a shootout on command. They kept it close until one of the last plays and looked like a good team for a good portion of this game.
CIN -6 (-110)
With a rough start to the year, CIN is not looking to lose to NYJ like they did last season. Burrow is going to be under pressure a lot this year as we have seen, however I don’t think NYJ has the defensive scheme/talent to capitalize as much as teams like PIT and DAL did. I expect them to respond positively in this game and win convincingly.
Reflection: CIN pounced all over NYJ, as I predicted here. The WR trio of Higgins, Chase and Boyd is the best in the league, and the NYJ offense has always been a mess as long as I can remember. CIN capitalized on costly penalties but also were dominant in making plays on the ball and attacking strengths/weaknesses in a strategic way.
CHI vs. HOU under 39.5 (-114)
These two teams will be near the bottom offensively when it’s all said and done, so I have no problem taking an under, especially when it’s set this low. CHI style of offense will drain the clock without putting too many points on the board, and hopefully their defense has a better matchup than against GB last week.
Reflection: Both offenses looked like they can run the ball decently, however they got off to a relatively fast scoring start and cruised past this total. I still think the under in most CHI games are a good play, along with PIT and DEN.
T. Hill and J. Waddle are a perfect compliment to a great running scheme. BAL is susceptible to the run, and might not have the manpower to go one on one with MIA top guys. Phins keep it close to the ugly birds.
Reflection: An offensive performance I doubt anyone predicted, Tua and MIA won outright against BAL thanks to his 5 TD passes and an incredible comeback. Lamar was nearly perfect but the BAL defense really stunk it up to hand MIA a comeback win.
NYG -2.5 (-110)
Offensively, NYG looks like they have the talent to put up some crooked numbers, especially on the ground. Given the problems CAR just had against the run, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that continue. Saquon can burst at any time!!
Reflection: A game as boring as it looked on paper, managed to play out exactly how Vegas wanted it to. NYG and CAR kept the game close the entire time and a massive FG won it late. Defenses played well, particularly CAR, who just couldn’t manage to win the time of possession due to turnovers.
NYJ ML (+210)
CLE has a good rushing attack, just like BAL did before the Jets played great against that area. This game could come down to a field goal at the last second.
Reflection: I’m going to continue betting moneyline underdogs when I think they got a chance! CLE played well but really just let NYJ back in the game, and they just kept feeding their two-headed RB monster as well as the young stud G. Wilson. A. Cooper was a force for CLE, even without a star QB, and Chubb/Hunt duo did what they will likely do every week.
TB ML (-155)
Gotta be a trap, because Tom Brady can have an offense comfortably control a game despite not playing well. NO have dominated him though, so don’t be surprised if they figure out a way to slow him down or keep him off the field (even better).
Reflection: Tom Brady is the best person to bet on ever, I’m pretty sure that would be a correct statistic but that’s also my personal experience. I am 5-0 when betting on TB12.
SEA +10 (-110)
Geno Smith is 10-0 against the spread in his last 10 games, I gotta ride that! Anyways, the 49ers somehow let a lead slip away against a pretty young and questionable athletes on CHI roster, making me think perhaps their young and questionable athlete is not ready to lead an NFL team. Backdoor cover at the least.
Reflection: A game that included the unfortunate loss of young QB T. Lance, who was lined up to be the next young generational QB. SF dominated the game regardless, winning by 20. However, J. Garrapollo did everything that he does in order to win football games (rating over 100).
CIN -7.5 (-110)
I’m doubtful that any defense will replicate the game against CIN that PIT did last week, and they’ll be hungry to assert their dominance. Why not roll with a good team after a loss?
Reflection: Super Bowl hangover? Losing to M. Trubisky and C. Rush are not great talking points at practice or team meetings. CIN offensive line was the problem when J. Burrow got injured two years ago, it was the problem during the Super Bowl last year, and the offensive line proved again in this game that they are still a liability, giving up six sacks and less than four yards per carry.
TEN +10 (-110)
Let’s not forget that sometimes D. Henry just totally takes over a game. I’m thinking that TEN is going to be a below average team this year, however I think for a game like this they will be prepared for. Feed the machine.
Reflection: BUF is insanely good, they’ve won 16 straight games by 10+ points. TEN didn’t stand a chance with their limited roster talent.
PHI -2 (-110)
If J. Hurts can make good throwing decisions and keep using his mobility for first downs and scores, this PHI team is good enough to go a long way this season. I am going to imagine a quick pass to D. Smith early in the game to get him involved after getting no action last week.
Reflection: The addition of A. Brown seems to be a good fit for J. Hurts, who used him to get comfortable and start finding other guys like Watkins and Smith throughout the game. Hurts also ran the ball as well as any QB, and he looks to be big and strong enough to take the hits and punish defensive backs for going low.
Every single position on the Steelers offensive line could use an upgrade, so it would be wise to draft a lineman that has logged 35 college starts including every position other than center. Green has strong legs that allow him to move quickly and play with great strength, making him an asset on any run play.
This K. Green is a lot more promising than last years K. Green, and it wouldn’t take long for fans to see the impact he would have, benefitting N. Harris and making the job easier for whoever they have at QB.
Green has the athleticism and physical temperament to become an instant starter…
Last year’s poor run defense was a fault of many, however the inside linebackers rarely held up their end of the bargain. Clark plays with tremendous speed and instinct, racking up over 100 tackles and five sacks last season.
Additionally, he has the athleticism and tenacity to become a viable pass rusher, which could add a unique blend to his game, similar (but not to the magnitude) to M. Parsons for the Cowboys.
He uses his athletic traits to track and pursue ball-carriers and is a big reason why he ranks amongst the top in the nation in tackles for the 2021 football season.
As of now, it is unknown how the Steelers will address free agent CB’s J. Haden and A. Witherspoon. I think at least one of them will leave, so grabbing much needed depth at a valuable position would be the right choice.
Jones is good in man coverage and has traits like length and instinct that make him a candidate for special teams and special assignments like slot covering or playing different sides of the ball. Yes, last season he got work in at WR and he didn’t look too bad. He could also be used as a kickoff or punt returner pending what happens elsewhere at the position.
Jones has the hips and feet to cover slippery slot receivers and the ballhawking instincts to make plays from zone
Now I know the RB in Pittsburgh is among the leagues best young stars, however the usage rate Najee Harris received last year was too much for him to sustain a ten plus year career. To put the cherry on top, backup RB’s B. Snell and K. Ballage were nothing more than bad last season.
Haskins runs with a fierce demeanor and has exceled at many positions and roles on a football field. Steelers have been linked to Michigan players for quite some time now, and I think they take an extremely solid RB to spell Harris.
Tack on his receiving upside, ball security, and his blocking utility, as well as his special teams experience, and you’re looking at a safe Day 3 pick.
Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network – Draft Analyst
Mason Rudolph? Marcus Mariota? Jimmy Garoppolo? Jameis Winston? Or a rookie…
QB Ben Roethlisberger gave 18 hall of fame seasons to the Steelers, and replacing him will likely be the hardest replacement ever for the franchise. The realistic options for next year’s starting QB job in Pittsburgh are as follows and NOT in any order:
Here is how some of these QB’s compare in their last ten games started (Mason Rudolph’s sample size):
This list has some talented QB’s and some not so talented QB’s. The craziest thing is that I think the best player for the job is one of the lesser talented names on the entire list… Factoring in everything that the Steelers front office should (like contract, familiarity, and draft capital) the best QB for the Steelers in 2022 is…
This will make someone rage click off this page I’m sure of it. But hear me out; Rudolph has one of the best things an NFL team could ask for – a QB on a rookie deal. The resources saved by locking in Rudolph as next years starter could and should be used to acquire smaller pieces for a roster that desperately needs better pieces.
Not only that, but the Steelers (and most teams) will not be jumping at the opportunity to take more risk than they have to. Rudolph has shown the staff and fans everything that he can and cannot do on the football field with the current offense, which should make it possible to game plan around his strengths and weaknesses. Whereas bringing in anyone will require somewhat of an adjustment and the QB performance might be negatively affected as a result.
2- Mitchell Trubisky (+1600)
Again, I’m probably not making a bunch of sense right now. But hear me out again; Trubisky just sat one year behind arguably the most talented QB in the world right now. The graph at the beginning shows one thing; his statistics look better than the others, namely his combination of rush yards per game, total touchdowns, completion percentage and touchdown percentage.
Based on current contract values, Trubisky will be cheaper than M. Mariota, J. Winston, A. Dalton and T. Bridgewater. He satisfies Tomlin’s desire for a mobile QB while actually improving the overall effectiveness of the offense, compared to Big Ben or Mason Rudolph.
3- Jameis Winston (+900)
Probably the most expensive name on the free agent list, I believe Winston can build off of his productive half-year in New Orleans. The stats don’t lie, and they tell us that Winston is truly the ‘all or nothing’ type of QB with a great ability to score touchdowns…and also the ability to ‘waste a pass’ (interception or incompletion).
That’s not exactly what the Steelers would sign him to be though, as he grew more patient and anticipated better throughout his time in New Orleans. He would only be brought in if other big upgrades were made to positions like WR and OL.
4- Malik Willis (+1400)
Here’s the first rookie, finally! The reason I don’t have any rookie higher than four is because I don’t think the better QB’s in the class will be available at pick 20, and I don’t see PIT trading up for any of them.
However if they did trade up, to get Willis, it would probably not be to sit him for a year, right? I would have to assume given his potential that they’re able to design an offense that he’s able to adapt to considering the offensive scheme they tried to run with the total opposite QB of Willis (Big Ben).
5- Sam Howell (+1800)
Oh another rookie? This rookie is (probably) the most pro-ready QB in the class, given his accuracy, experience and athleticism. Although I don’t like to put too much weight on this; Kevin Colbert and the scouting department have watched Sam Howell the most throughout the season/off-season. A real possibility could be the top five lineman are gone and the top two or three QB’s are gone, in either case might prompt PIT to draft Howell for safety and needs.
6- Marcus Mariota (+1300)
Mariota is probably dying to get the chance to start again, but even if he were to come to PIT, something tells me it would still be a battle between him and Rudolph for the entirety of preseason.
Although he could help boost the running game with his mobility, he hasn’t gotten the chance to do that in a while and his speed/elusiveness may be on the decline given his age. However, he has shown the ability to take care of the football and that could prove to be all a team needs from their QB.
7- Jimmy Garoppolo (+750)
Garoppolo has been discussed the most heavily in connection with PIT’s starting QB next season (at least among free agents). While he might have the innate ability to pull out wins and command a powerful offense, it isn’t as clear how much of that was because of him, rather than despite him. The price tag and expectations would far exceed the offensive productivity with him and the current scheme.
8- Matt Corral (+1200)
I won’t lie I think Corral would be fun to watch in PIT. He’d likely use his legs as much as he needed, and that in itself would give the offense a different type of style for the foreseeable future. Not sure how serious his injury is, but even if he’s fully healthy he doesn’t have the most prototypical frame of an NFL QB and will likely undergo A LOT of pressure if PIT drafts him in the first round. If it happens I wouldn’t surprise if Corral sat behind Rudolph to at least start the season.
9- Russel Wilson (+1200)
Well, Wilson is easily the most proven and valuable QB on this list, and adding an escape artist QB who throws one of the best deep ball passes in the game would instantly make the offense more explosive given their QB immobility last year and lack of deep ball success.
What’s important to keep in mind though is Wilson would cost at least two first-round picks and maybe even a player. The roster isn’t constructed to spend as much as possible on a QB when other pieces are needed yet would be forfeited with the acquisition of Wilson.
10- Kenny Pickett (+900)
Now this is NOT me saying Pickett is the worst QB on this list, please keep that in mind! As it stands now, I’m willing to bet that there’s a 99% chance Pickett gets drafted inside the top-15 and that would mean PIT sacrificing draft capital and/or players to jump up and select him.
I like the chemistry Pickett would have with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, however no amount of chemistry can fix the offensive line that would be in a state of unknown heading into next season, especially if a QB is taken in round one and not a lineman.
There are many paths for the Pittsburgh Steelers to find their next QB, whether it be for one year or the next ten. There are pros and cons to each of their options and a lot of the decisions will likely come down to cost and risk. Mason Rudolph should be the starting QB next year, because he is the lowest-risk option on this list and is also the cheapest while he’s still on his rookie contract.
With that being said, if the objective is to look at the odds and make money on this situation; my bets are going to be placed on Mason Rudolph ($5), Marcus Mariota ($1), and Sam Howell ($1). I wouldn’t take them though until more of the draft process gets going, as that will tell the fans a lot about who is focused on who.
Thanks to FanDuel’s same-game parlay promotion, I will be placing $200 on same game parlays over the course of the Wild Card Playoff weekend to receive $100 of credit back, regardless if my parlays win or lose.
LV vs. CIN (+524):
J. Chase TD Scorer, +100
D. Carr u257.5 pass yards, -114
Alt points u51.5, -150
LV vs. CIN (+482):
D. Waller o59.5 rec yards, -110
2H Total Points o23.5, -112
J. Chase o70.5 rec yards, -110
Reflection: The first half of this game is what I expected the second half to look like, with 33 points scored. I anticipated OAK being down some and relying on their passing game and chunk plays from Waller, which they got on occasion but not enough. Ja’Marr Chase is a top ten WR in the NFL, and his receiving props should be set at 100 every week, if not more.
Enjoy these short paragraphs for my reasoning on betting these teams this weekend:
NE ML (+170)
I’ll put my money on Bill Belichick in the playoffs against a divisional team he just lost to a few weeks ago. BUF might have the advantage on offense and even overall defensive unit, but NE can scheme up defenses that makes QB’s see ghosts. If J. Allen makes big throws like he did in their last matchup, BUF has a much greater chance at winning. I expect NE to control the game and keep BUF uncomfortable.
Reflection: Well, Josh Allen and the Bills played a literal perfect game. No punts, field goals, or turnovers. All touchdowns. Every time they wanted to score a TD, they did. Take my money.
SF ML (+150)
I always enjoy placing money on good offenses. SF leads the NFL in yards per play at 6.1, followed third by DAL at 6.0. Needless to say the offenses in this matchup are efficient. However, DAL is the worst team in the NFL at committing penalties (on both sides of the ball) and we all know how pivotal a pass interference or holding can be to a game. SF has the kicking advantage which could be a deciding factor in a closely rated matchup such as this one.
Reflection: This one felt a little too mainstream by the time the game rolled around, and SF did exactly what they needed to in order to win; establish the run, limit DAL offense and get creative. Almost gave up a crucial comeback attempt, but prevailed nonetheless.
ARI ML (+155)
We know this ‘upset’ is possible because it has already been done earlier in the year. I know it was early and these teams are at much different places now, however it’s still a divisional game in the playoffs that makes me think it will be closely matched. Would Kingsbury be on the hot seat if they lose this one?
Remember that historic 2019 LSU offense that shattered NCAA records? Well, turns out the connection from that QB (Joe Burrow) to that top WR (Ja’Marr Chase) is still successful at the next level – very successful. Chase is soon to be crowned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year while helping the Cincinnati Bengals win the AFC North.
After drafting Chase 5th overall, the Bengals took a big gamble on boosting their WR core and establishing a top-tier QB/WR duo, rather than drafting a franchise offensive linemen to protect what they already had in Burrow/Mixon. That gamble returned 81 catches, 1,455 yards, 13 TD’s, and a league best 18.1 yards per reception.
Considering the opening odds at Ja’Marr Chase +1500 to win OROY, if a Bengals fan or an advanced sports bettor placed a $10 bet on Chase to win, it will soon pay out $160. Think about that value in the upcoming draft; offensive players like WR Jameson Williams and QB Matt Corral could have great rookie seasons depending on where they land.
Many believed in the Bengals’ vision and Chase’ ability, including:
Max Staley, FanDuel
“That sounds like a Rookie of the Year recipe.”
Hitting the nail on the head multiple times, Staley correctly envisioned the Burrow to Chase connection being special at the next level. Not only that, in his writing he discusses the type of athlete and talent Chase is by himself. That was on display this entire season.
“It could prove to be an immediate payoff for the rookie receiver and his young quarterback.”
As I mentioned in the opening parts of this post, the 2019 LSU offense was dynamic and truly legendary. Burrow and Chase were MAJOR contributors to that success. There was much debate about protecting Burrow or giving Burrow a great weapon, and it’s nice to recognize the type of player they drafted instead of P. Sewell.
“Out of the gate, he offers NFL-Ready skillsets and a five-star bond with his quarterback.”
If you haven’t noticed by now, a common theme is that people who were confident in the Bengals pick of Ja’Marr chase had a vision of the QB/WR chemistry working at the next level, enticing some to take props on his season receiving yards. Although Bruni was wrong about the other Bengals WR to surpass 1,000 yards, his ideas were accurately displaced.
Reflection: Claypool was utilized as a runner and had 33 yards (team leader) in that category to keep his total below 50. Other two were great hits. Tough loss.
CHI vs. MIN (+1141):
D. Mooney TD Scorer
K. Cousins u249.5 pass yards
Reflection: Well, MIN won and D. Mooney was active. He wasn’t active in the end zone however and ultimately K. Cousins finished with exactly 250 passing yards total, .5 above the prop. We don’t talk about those though since Mooney’s ruled it out anyways!