A good friend of mine offered some words of wisdom that I’d like to share with you. Think long, think wrong. There is a thing called analysis paralysis. Give yourself enough time and you can talk yourself into the wrong play or talk yourself out of the right play. Last week’s theme was to not overthink it and just like that, the teaser record got back on track. I'm sticking with that same concept this week.
As a refresher, when assembling a teaser, some parameters include:
Keeping it to a two-team teaser (the more pieces you add, the greater the risk).
Target lower-totaled games (the more points expected, the more variance involved).
Tease through the key numbers of three and seven.
Week 9 teaser-leg options
Browns +8.5 at Bengals, 47
Raiders at Giants +8.5, 46.5
Chargers at Eagles +7.5, 50
Cardinals at 49ers +7.5, 46
Packers at Chiefs -1.5, 48.5
Titans at Rams -1.5, 53.5
The plan: Target two divisional matchups in low-totaled games. Cincinnati was looking hot putting a 41-17 beatdown on the Baltimore Ravens and then looked like a discounted used tire losing to the New York Jets outright 34-31 as 11.5-point favorites. Which version of the Bengals do we get this week?
Bengals QB Joe Burrow still has to answer to DE Myles Garrett, who has 10.5 sacks on the season, the most in the NFL. Burrow has a 49% completion when under pressure. Against other teams with a top 10 pass rush, the Bengals defeated the Vikings by three points, lost to the Bears by three, and as we all remember and perhaps are still jaded by our survivor league knockout, lost to the Jets by three.
The only team where Burrow and the Bengals offense had a better showing was a 24-10 win over the Steelers, a game without star LB T.J. Watt, who is tied for second in the league in sacks. Plus, four of Cleveland's last six games have gone under, with those four totaling 32 points or less. The potential for this to be another defensive game is there.
Cardinals QB Kyler Murray suffered an ankle injury last week and is currently a game-time decision. If Murray were to sit, Colt McCoy (Hook ‘Em!) would be called upon to lead the Arizona offense. This isn’t a play against Murray’s injury, though his explosiveness may be limited if hobbled and the play-calling could be relatively conservative with McCoy. Rather, this is a play on San Francisco’s offense.
The 49ers lead the league in red-zone scoring percentage for touchdowns at 78.9%. RB Elijah Mitchell has gained 10 or more yards on 18.5% of his carries, the highest rate among running backs this season. It accounts for over 60% of his total rushing yards, also the highest rate in the league.
The Cardinals are 20th in rushing yards allowed, 31st in opponent yards per carry. Mitchell is poised to have a big game. Also, don’t look at the 17-10 Cardinals win back in Week 5 and think this could be similar. QB Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t play in that matchup, rookie QB Trey Lance struggled, and yet, San Francisco still outgained Arizona 338 yards to 304. Divisional revenge game? Sign me up.