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Play, action or pass recap: What we learned in Week 17

Marcus Mariota and the Titans slipped into the playoffs. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As we discussed last week, you shouldn't look too much into the results of some of the games in Week 17, but the final weekend does give us a chance to sharpen our power rankings on teams advancing to the postseason. What did we learn from some of last week's performances?

FALCONS 22 PANTHERS 10

In a game that had implications for both teams, Cam Newton came up short in an abysmal performance. Many are saying that Cam looked unconcerned during the contest, but I see it the opposite. Cam was entirely into the game, and you can see that on his Quarterback runs and his reactions after them. What affected him was the inability of his wide receivers to create separation in addition to the horrible performance from Greg Olsen. On numerous plays, the two seemed to be on different beats with Olsen running completely different routes and dropping multiple passes. The Panthers have run an unconventional offense the entire year with a playbook that doesn't require a true #1 wide receiver. While it did work the first time around, when playing divisional foes in the yearly rematch, the Panthers only averaged 17.7 points and 260.7 yards a game. Are the adjustments from their opponents in their second meetings a mold of how to stop the unorthodox attack of the Panthers? If so, what does it say when a team sees the scheme for the third time this year? The Saints held Carolina to an average of 17 points in their two encounters this season.

BUCCANEERS 31 SAINTS 24

In a "need" game for the Saints, they failed to win outright as a 7 point road favorite. New Orleans was very fortunate the Panthers lost to the Falcons. Otherwise, they wouldn't be playing at home this weekend. The Saints managed to lose the game with a +2 turnover margin. When you look at the boxscore, and the final stats for the Saints offensive stars Alvin Kamara (9/44/1) and Mark Ingram (13/35), you see modest numbers compared to what we have been accustomed to the entire season. The reason behind these low totals has to be accredited to Tampa Bay's ability to convert on third down where they were 12 for 14, ultimately keeping the ball away from the Saints offense.

TITANS 15 JAGUARS 10

Doug Marrone's decision to play Blake Bortles and the rest of the starters has to be the worst coaching decision of the season. Bortles limped off in the second quarter after a low hit but surprisingly was put back into a meaningless game. Many would use the "gaining postseason momentum" theory, and if that's the case, then the Jaguars achieved the contrary. Bortles finished with a 33.7 QB rating while going 15-34, with a shameful 158 yards and two picks. On the Titans side, we saw what we have been watching all year, a putrid offense that only netted 232 total yards. Tennesse will be a team we look to take advantage of in the playoffs.

BENGALS 31 RAVENS 27

The Bengals looked like the inspired team as  Baltimore had five drops in the first half. The Ravens failed to hold the late lead, and Andy Dalton's late-game heroics punched a ticket for Buffalo's first postseason since appearance since 1999.

VIKINGS 23 BEARS 10

The Vikings finished 6-2 ATS at home while finishing +7.9 in ATS +/- in those contest.

CARDINALS 26 SEAHAWKS 24

Arizona's defense played inspired for Bruce Arian's farewell, allowing Seattle only 13 first downs in a must-win game for the Seahawks.

CHARGERS 30 RAIDERS 10

Not much to be said, the Raiders are the Raiders.

Inside The numbers

Based on the odds of -110 (11/10) for a straight football wager, a handicapper needs to be right 52.38% to break even. If you can manage to exceed that figure, you have beat the book, something many fail to do over a large sample size.

For example, If you make ten wagers to win $100 (risking $110 to win $100) and win 6 out of 10, you won $600. Take out the losses at -110 odds you subtract -$440. So you profited $160.

Let's say you make the same wagers and spilt, five wins and five losses. Now you won $500, but you lost $550 after the -110 odds. Going even ultimately cost you a -$50 result. The one game difference holds a value of +/- $210.

The smallest of percents are critical to your final net gain and losses.

Play Action or Pass went 3-5 in Week 17 bringing the final regular season number to 48-38-2 (55.81%)

Patriots -15    WIN
Raiders+8     LOSS
Packers+7     LOSS
Redskins -3     LOSS
Panthers+4    LOSS
49ers Moneyline   WIn
Teasers 7 point
Panthers+11/ Patriots-8  LOSS
Teasers 10 point
Patriots-5/Vikings-1/Saints-Bucs over 40  WIN

Favorites finished 2017 with a 132-110-9 ATS record.
Home Teams 126-116-9 ATS
Over/ Under 118-133-5 ATS
72 of 110 underdogs won their games outright this season 65%

Best teams ATS in 2017

Vikings    11-5
Patriots   11-6
Chiefs     10-6
Eagles     10-6
Bills      9-6-1
Jets       9-6-1

Final Regular Season Power Rankings
Patriots
Steelers
Vikings
Saints
Rams

Super Bowl Odds
New England Patriots    +210
Minnesota Vikings    +375
Pittsburgh Steelers    +525
New Orleans Saints    +750
Los Angeles Rams    +900
Philadelphia Eagles    +1200
Kansas City Chiefs    +1800
Jacksonville Jaguars    +2200
Carolina Panthers    +2500
Atlanta Falcons    +2500
Tennessee Titans    +7500
Buffalo Bills    +7500

For any question or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter
 

 




 

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Keep an eye on Tank Dell this Sunday. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

I remember thinking how in the world can these little frail guys survive at the NFL level? I mean, I saw Joe Theismann and Ed McCaffrey's legs snap. Drew Bledsoe got his chest caved in. Seeing 300-plus pound men cry when injured is humbling. So when a guy like Tank Dell comes along, I'm always a bit apprehensive. Especially when they come with a ton of hype.

For every eight to ten big strong players that get hurt, there's one or two little fellas that have relatively healthy careers. The comp that came to mind when looking at Tank was DeSean Jackson. Listed at 5'10 and weighing a heavy 175 pounds, Jackson was arguably the best “small guy” in NFL history. Dell being about two inches shorter and about ten pounds lighter, while also playing a similar role, is in line to be a similarly electrifying type of player. I put my assessment on the line and doubled down with my predictions on what his, and others' season totals will look like last week:

Tank Dell: 68 catches, 1,105 yards and 6 touchdowns- Dell will be a really good slot, but has some outside skills. Namely, his speed. He's more slippery than if Mick had greased that chicken before Rocky tried catching it. I could see his production going up as the season gets longer because Stroud will begin to look for him more and more as they build chemistry. Yes, I know I only have him with six scores. Keep in mind this is a run first offense. At least that's what we can deduce from looking at where it came from in San Francisco.

In his debut game last week vs the Ravens, he notched three catches for 34 yards on four targets. He was tied for third on the team in targets with Noah Brown and Mike Boone. While Robert Woods and Nico Collins were one and two in targets last week, I think Dell will ascend that list starting this week. Word came down that Noah Brown is headed to IR, meaning he'll miss at least the next four weeks. The chemistry he and fellow rookie C.J. Stroud have developed is palpable. From working out together, to attending UH games together, these two seem to have a nice bond already.

Woods is a solid vet two years removed from an ACL injury. Collins was a third rounder with size who hasn't done a whole lot. Dell is easily the most exciting option at receiver this team has. John Metchie III was expected to be the next guy up. Unfortunately, cancer had him take a backseat, until now. Metchie is back at practice this week, so a debut is imminent. He could potentially challenge for more playing time, but it may take him some time to get used to things and get going again.

As far as my statistical prediction for his season, he only needs to average four catches for 67 yards per game, and get a touchdown every two to three games for the remainder of the season. Given Brown being out the next few games, Metchie not quite being up to speed, Woods being an older player on a short-term deal, and Collins not really being what everyone thought he could be, it leaves things wide open for Dell to step up.

Playmakers come in all shapes and sizes. Levon Kirkland was a 300-pound middle linebacker in a 3-4. Doug Flutie led teams to playoff wins as a 5'9 quarterback. In football, size matters. The bigger, stronger guys normally win out. When it comes to receiving and returns, you want speed, quickness, and agility. Dell has that in spades. Add his competitive nature and chemistry with his quarterback and you have a recipe for a star in the making. I know I'm not the only one hoping the Texans continue Tank-ing.

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