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  • Gary Porpora

NFL 2023 - WEEK FOUR

NFL 2023 - WEEK FOUR


I'll have my Tally Sheet up during my Week Five Picks...


Let's jump right into Week Four...


THE STEELERS GAME


Steelers (-2.5) @ Texans Steelers -142; Texans +120 42.5 [U]


I lived in Denver as an undergrad at DU, in the halcyon days of the famed “Orange Slush” er, “Crush” defense, and coach Red Miller. I had to bear obnoxious Denver fans at the Rathskeller during the ‘77 playoff tilt watching Chuck Noll’s boys worst post-season loss of the ‘70s--4 turnovers, 10 penalties, special teams meltdowns--when Craig Morton outgunned Terry Bradshaw, yes Craig Morton!!!---


--NO!!! I still can’t talk about it without puking...Randy Gradishar and Lyle Alzado out-played Jack Splat and Mean Joe, too... It. Was. Unbearable.


Here’s a recap, if you can stand it...



Anyway, those were the days when it was pretty much accepted that Steelers fans were the one of, if not the most, knowledgeable fan bases in sports.


Today, you don’t hear that too often--especially when sane folk must endure the irrational shrieks calling for Mike Tomlin’s head.


My readers know I’ve already debunked the laughable, “ Tomlin loses to teams he should beat” nonsense. Today I’ll tackle the, “Tomlin should be fired for his atrocious playoff record since their 36-17 AFCCG loss to the Cheatin’ Belichicks after the 2016 season. Since that loss, here’s lies the tale of a dismal tape:

  • Pittsburgh hasn’t won a playoff game...

  • Missed the playoffs twice..

  • Lost to Baker Mayfield’s Browns, Blake Bortles Jaguars, and Mahome’s Chiefs...

  • Gave up 135 points- in those three debacles--over 40 each game...


I can hear the dry heaves for all over the Burgh as I write this column from sunny Southern California.


If you read either Pittsburgh newspaper or the comments from numerous online sites, Tomlin is pilloried for not meeting the post-season standard he so often refers to as “the standard.” Along with losing too many challenges, hiring Matt Canada, and fielding lousy defenses he is “in charge” of, at least 70% of commenters conclude all of the above is more than reason enough for Art Deuce to fire Tomlin tomorrow...


If you don’t agree, they label you an apologist..


I'm no apologist--but I'm no spoiled, screeching fanatic either.


And I can’t stand when people forget history, and NFL history reveals two inarguable trends:

  1. When you draft in the 23-25 or lower range consistently for 16 years-it will catch up to you even if Jesus is your GM.

  2. In a league designed to produce 32 8-8 teams--reverse draft order and waiver wire, hard salary cap and floor--analytics confirm draft busts like Jarvis Jones and Artie Burns, and bad luck injuries like Ryan Shazier and Devin Bush are inevitable.

Such draft misses, for which Tomlin should take legitimate heat, kill team development even with a a coach who has advanced to the post season with Duck Rudolph at QB, and/or a crappy offensive line, and/or a defense that couldn't stop the run.


POINT BEING


In most drafts analyses since Tomlin's hire, the Steelers haven't ranked as high as we like to think, in fact, since 2012, they've been very average, 15th-16th depending on what analysis you read--look it up.


Again, for that, Tomlin should take well-deserved heat...


In my view, the Steeles dreadful playoff record since they got Tebowed doesn't reflect a failure in coaching, but excellence. Great coaches like Harbaugh, Carroll, and McCarthy couldn't have pulled 6-10 records from many of the teams Tomlin took to the playoffs.


Fact is, Mike Tomlin squeezes more talent from average players than just about any coach you can name


Proof? As noted, although Pittsburgh has had some very good drafts--this year’s could be fantastic--since Tomlin’s hire in ‘07, (notably in his first six years;) the Steelers have been only average in the impact and success of their drafting during the last ten seasons of Tomlin’s tenure. Yet, since ‘07, Pittsburgh has the third most wins, 3 less than Green Bay and 23 less than the most prolific Cheaters in team sports history.


If that is’t compelling proof of Mike Tomlin’s pre-eminence, nothing is.




THE PICK


I am really liking Demeco Ryan as a football coach and CJ Stroud as a quarterback--these Texans compete hard, play fundamental football, are well disciplined and should be a good match for any team.


But, they are young. Stroud doesn’t have a supporting cast, and his offensive line is really hurting--and Bill Obrien’s inexplicable trade for Laremy Tunsil will continue to haunt the Shitkickers for at least another year.


Several ‘cappers point to plane-delay issues in Kansas City as a potential distraction for Pittsburgh. We think Mike Tomlin will have his guys ready.


Lay the 2.5 Points and play the Under.


Steelers 23

Texans 19


GAME OF THE WEEK


Dolphins @ Bills (-2.5) Dolphins +124; Bills -148 54 GW [O]


Some interesting nuggets from Katie Mox and the boys at cbsspoirts.com, team rankings .com and Oddsshark.com:

  • Since the merger, teams scoring 60+ points are 1-5 SU in their next game

  • Buffalo defense 32nd in yards per rush

  • Allen is 9-2 SU vs Miami

  • Since 2020 Bills are 25-6 at home

  • 10-1 against the division

  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Miami's last 6 games.

  • Miami is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games.

  • Miami is 1-9 SU in their last 10 games against Buffalo.

  • Miami is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games on the road.

  • Miami is 0-7 SU in their last 7 games when playing on the road against Buffalo

  • Buffalo are 10-2 SU in their last 12 games.

  • The total has gone OVER in 12 of Buffalo's last 17 games against Miami.

  • Buffalo is 13-2 SU in their last 15 games at home.

  • Buffalo is 7-0 SU in their last 7 games when playing at home against Miami.

  • Buffalo is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games against an opponent in the American Football Conference.

  • Buffalo is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against an opponent in the American Football Conference East division.

The Bills are more balanced, know Miami well, and have handled their division business at home consistently since Allen was drafted in 2018--4th best in the NFL, 22-11.


Besides I don’t think the Dolphins can maintain the blistering level of success they showed against Denver. Everything won’t go your way every week.


Biggest shootout of the year...The Over is a value pick here.


Bills 33

Dolphins 30


LOCK OF THE WEEK


Broncos (-3) @ Bears Broncos -175; Bears +145 46.5 [U]


These two very storied and very proud franchises are fighting for the dubious ranking as worst team in the league; they both have earned that ugly status.


On offense, the Broncs are very average; on defense, they are on pace for one of the epically worst performances in history. They’ll be choking on that 70-triple-bacon-egg-double-cheese-burger Miami shoved down their throat until Christmas.


Denver just might be the lousiest team in the league--thing is, Da Bears might be worse.


No, he’s not kidding.


Justin Fields couldn’t make the century mark in passing yards against KC, and ran for 47 yds--but few of them were designated runs. The kid is scrambling for his life. Former Panther wideout DJ Moore is Fields’ go to guy--and he hasn’t been the game-changer Bears Nation was hoping for.


Denver has a top 10-15 offensive line and Chicago’s is painfully average.

Add to that The Bears appear to be the leagues most chaotically consistent cluster f$#k. Head coach, Matt Eberflus is 3-17 and has lost 13 straight. His clock is ticking...


I’m calling this one for the Wild Horses, because, since Denver HC, Sean Payton, left New Orleans for the Rockies, the Saints have an 8-9 record after a loss--18th in the NFL. When Payton coached in New Orleans his Saints were 55-31 after losing a game, (7th).


This gives us a snapshot into Payton’s impact--and we think the stat is one of the most important in evaluating a head coach’s impact.


Russell Wilson has thrown for 300 yards two weeks in a row; Chicago's pass defense is flat awful. Wilson should have a field day--and his Broncos should be more pissed than a fire hydrant in a dog park.


There’s common sense in believing Denver will show some pride...


We’re calling the Under.


Broncos 31

Bears 15


UPSET SPECIAL


Rams (-1) @ Colts Rams -118; Colts -102 45.5


We were set to take the Cardinals and the 14 points against Gold Miners in Santa Clara, but we’re going with the Home Dog Horseshoes against the Big Horns at Lucas Oil Stadium.


QB Anthony Richardson returns from a bruised brain, and he will make a huge difference as will the return of G Quentin Nelson--who will also open up some holes for 3rd year RB, Zack Moss.


The Rams give up 4.5 yards per rush--Indy 3.5. I think Indy can control the game with Moss, negating the impact of All-World DL, Aaron Donald.


The Colts end up with a 10 point win, Under the Number.


Colts 27

Rams 17

As usual. All my ATS and Totals pick are belo in bold italics...


DATE SPREAD MONEYLINE OVER/UNDER

THURSDAY, SEPT. 28

Lions (-2) @ Packers Lions -130; Packers +110 45.5 O/U

SUNDAY OCT. 1

Falcons @ Jaguars (-3) Falcons +136; Jaguars -162 43 [O]

Steelers (-2.5) @ Texans Steelers -142; Texans +120 42.5 [U]

Broncos (-3.5) @ Bears Broncos -175; Bears +145 46.5 LW [O]

Commanders @ Eagles (-8) Commanders +300; Eagles -380 43.5

Vikings (-4.5) @ Panthers Vikings -218; Panthers +180 46.5

Rams (-1) @ Colts Rams -118; Colts -102 45.5 US [U]

Ravens @ Browns (-2.5) Ravens +130 Browns -155 40.5

Dolphins @ Bills (-3) Dolphins +124; Bills -148 54 GW [O]

Buccaneers @ Saints (-3.5) Buccaneers +145; Saints -175 39.5

Bengals (-2.5) @ Titans Bengals -135; Titans +114 40.5

Cardinals @ 49ers (-14) Cardinals +625; 49ers -950 44

Patriots @ Cowboys (-6.5) Patriots +230; Cowboys -285 43

Raiders @ Chargers (-5.5) Raiders +185; Chargers -225 48.5

Chiefs (-9) @ Jets Chiefs -42 Jets +330 41.5 [U]

MON, OCT. 2

Seahawks @ Giants (-1) Seahawks -105; Giants -115 46.5 [U]


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