The Sportfolio Strategists’ NFL Week 5 X-Ray Report
Karma clan, we welcome you to check out our weekly deep-dive recap of several key games from the previous week, providing you with actionable insights that see through the final score and into the most substantive key takeaways, many of which will be incorporated into future sportfolio positioning. I think we can all appreciate that relying on ESPN storylines and highlights to frame your understanding of a team's performance or the evolution of a game is a disservice to your bankroll. Our X-Ray Report will isolate critical factors that misalign with the media's broader narrative of a game, providing you with more opportunity to capitalize on mispricings in the market.
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What we learned: give Cousins time, he can pick you apart; get pressure on him, and he quickly gives up and becomes a massive liability. Vikings need to be upgraded unquestionably. The defense has really come around, getting pressure, and stuffing the run. secondary still a big weakness. The emergence of Jefferson has also opened things up from an offensive perspective. Seattle's weak OL and DL is a real concern for long-term success. Wilson singlehandedly makes this team dangerous; not sure I'd want anybody more leading my team in a 2 min drill or in a final drive down points. But turnovers by Vikings and short-fields for Seattle was the key takeaway and allowed Seattle to stay in game and win.
*1st drive, Cousins just has tons of time and clean pocket to throw. Give him this and he will find the open dude. Rather effortless down the field, picked up one big 3 n 11 to extend drive, TD 7-0
*good opening drive by seattle, but big sack on 2 n 8, makes it 3 n 22, and seattle capitulates, runs for 3y and punt.
*vikings go for it on 4 n 1 from 50, get it. convert into FG, 10-0.
*anytime Cousins did get pressure, which was rare, he immediately tucked ball and sacked/short-gain/throw away.
*vikings DL pressure stalls seattle short-drive, punt. vikings can't convert 3 n 1, return punt back to seattle
*more vikings DL pressure stalls seattle drive; 2 sacks and run stuff.
*nice blend of run, pass, screens by vikings; 2 minute drill gets them into FG range, 13-0 halftime.
*seattle 3 n out to start 2H; vikings stuffing the run.
*couple big passes by wilson gets seattle quickly down field; TD 13-7
*fumble by cousins puts seattle inside redzone; 2 plays later, TD 14-13
*next play, cousins pick. seattle back inside redzone. 1 play later, TD 21-13
*couple big catches by Irv Smith; who showed flashes last season; another viable weapon for vikings; turns drive into TD, 21-19
*perfect pass by wilson dropped for 40y TD, instead, punt. vikes start inside own 10, but another nice mix of pass and big runs, turns into long drive and TD, 26-21 vikings
*wilson INT gives vikings ball at midfield
*big run and vikings in business inside redzone; 2 min warning and 4 n 1, vikings don't get it somehow; wasn't even a great defensive play.
*wilson does his thing in 2 min drive; seahawks win
What we learned: Why is no one talking about how average to below average Lamar looks throwing the ball? Floaters and deep balls are not even close; more opportunistic D will take advantage. Dare I say, he doesn't even look as fast or elusive? Maybe there is some injury here (LJ homers certainly hoping so). This is 2018 Lamar right now. Mark Andrews and quick slants still effective however. The DL pressure on Burrow and run game was the story. If Bengals facing strong DL, their offensive potency is neutered. When Burrow got time, which wasn't often, he was able to find dudes for 10-15y. Ravens got short fields, and competent enough to cash in.
*first pass, Burrow 15y crisp pass in the middle. bad run, missed pass, pressure, results in punt
*big run sets up ravens in bengals side, but 3 bad passes by LJ, FG 3-0
*another 20y pass by burrow, across midfield. bad run, missed pass, pressure, results in 4 n 6 but no go; burrow under pressure
*LJ tons of time to pass, deep ball, ZERO chance; the quick slant to speedy WR or TE is still the bread a butter; big 3 n 14 pickup, results in TD 10-0
*Burrow under pressure, throws off back foot deep, bad decision, pick. Ravens inside Bengals 30. A few runs, quick slants, Ravens TD 17-0.
*Burrow pressured, sack, fumble. Ravens at midfield.
*Ravens 4 n 6, LJ floats touch pass, no chance, turnover.
*similar rhythm to this game: Ravens short field, Burrow under pressure, turns it over or stunts drive; Lamar missing throws left and right, but good field positioning and just enough accurate passed in the middle, was enough to dominate this game. ZERO flash tho.
What we learned: Cards not worthy of upgrading, Jets not worthy of downgrading. Both OLs struggled, putting pressure on their QBs. Give Murray enough opps and he'll make something of it; not so for Flacco. Jets D played somewhat admirably. Flacco has no chance if rolls out, but can be accurate if can stay in pocket.
*Flacco misses wide open easy, WR on first pass; 3 n out
*Murray pressured, just throws bomb off back foot; why would you be so reckless so early in game? luckily not INT'd
*Murray continues to have happy feet, even not when under direct pressure
*Flacco defaults to dump off option for 3-4yds or flat out misses dude if passed 10yds
*Jets drive to 10y line, go for it on 4th n 1, stuffed. Could have cut lead to at least 7-3 or tie
*Murray's shortness enables low throw, tipped, picked. Jets bk into the 10y line. Can't cash-in, bk to bk miserable throws by Flacco, 7-3.
*A somewhat unimpressive drive, but Cards drive down field, enabled by Jets penalties, 14-3.
*Chase Edmunds > Kenyan Drake
*When Cards move ball, they do it in big chunks.
*Murry's zip on passes just wasn't very accurate most times; when needed to float on longer down field, was more accurate
*Flacco picked up two key 1st downs w his legs that led to scores; dude is willing to run, likely mostly out of desperation. 17-10 w 5m left in Q3.
*Cards go for it on 4n1 on own 40; Murray under instant pressure, but floats a nice pass for big 30y gain. Drive results in TD; massive swing. The entire character of this game could have been different if Jets get stuff and are inside Cards' 40 down 7 heading into Q4.
*Flacco loves Jeff Smith; not that he was ever open.
*Several near fumbles by Flacco; watchout for this.
*Once Flacco out of the pocket, dude is toast.
*Christian Kirk getting more exposure and opportunity.
*Murray does seem to have nice deep ball chemistry with Hopkins; connected several times, including TD 30-10.
What we learned:
Dolphins — Dolphins have been competitive in all 5 games so far losing 3 vs playoff teams and dominating vs teams who are not. Fitzmagic is real, a top 15 QB with weapons. Flores’ defense is making plays and getting pressure, and if this team had any luck vs Bills or Patriots they are sitting 3-2 and in very good position to compete for the division. It is time to upgrade Dolphins with Fitzpatrick as better than an avg team and one who has a legit shot to make the playoffs. Fitzmagic is real because with weapons, he gives his playmakers a chance to make plays on the ball, net benefit for PI’s, big plays, TD’s etc. using his feet to do so and never afraid of big hits.
49ers — The silver lining of this game is 49ers cannot play any worse, this is bottom. But, hitting bottom while getting many key offensive pieces back in the fold is a net positive. This defense finally got exposed after all the injuries, not getting pressure and giving up big pass plays down the field. The 49ers bread and butter this year is going to be their running game, which Mostert ran extremely well in this game back, and getting a QB to make plays to their now healthy Kittle/Aiyuku/Deebo trio of playmakers, which is the bright side of this dark game. 49ers overs and high scoring games may be the new norm, something Kyle Shannahon experienced before.
* Jimmy G back and 49ers start game with 2 runs up middle for no yards and 3 and out, predictable with a team playing vanilla game plan the last 4 weeks.
* Huge 50 yd pass by Fitzmagic to Preston Williams, great catch.
* Big 3rd down pass by Fitz for 1st down, horse collar tackle then TD on Dolphins 1st drive. 49ers defensive injuries finally showing up here and looking average with minimal playmakers.
* 49ers all dink and dunk on their second drive and get stopped on 4th and 1 running mckinnon up the middle.
* 1 on 1 again and Fitzmagic lets Parker have a shot, which he comes down with it in the redzone and TD drive up 14-0
* Having Aiyuk, Deebo, Kittle and Mosteert back healthy will help this offense a ton moving forward, but Jimmy G just not comfortable after his ankle sprain.
* San Francisco gets stop and answers running ball right down Dolphin’s throat, TD 14-7.
* Fitzpatrick leads team right down field and gets PI call on ball giving his WR a chance to catch, setting up on 5 yd line and after a few penalties, TD by Parker on Bryan Allen, getting burned all day.
* Jimmy G still off target, and big pass play by Fitzmagic again leads to FG.
* Jimmy G forces ball on wheel route to RB and gets picked by safety. Definitely a rust read/throw, Miami gets FG.
* Jimmy G picked again, this time a bad overthrow, a staple of a guy with high ankle sprain, leads to Miami FG to end half.
* 2nd half Jimmy G is benched as the team was down too many points and he needs more time to get situated after his ankle issue.
* Silver lining in this game for 49ers is Mostert looks good and healthy and getting chunk runs.
* 49ers get a few bail out penalties helping their drive in 3rd Q for TD.
* Dolphins go fake punt on 4th and 1 on their own 40 yard line. I get the idea, but up 30-14 and dominating game with CJ in, no reason to get desperate, but leads to TD drive for Fitzmagic to Preston Williams down the field.
* CJ’s second drive was strng too, but Dolphins D-line making it tough on every QB. 49ers settle for FG to end 3rd Q. and down 20.
* Dolphins drive down and get FG off more big pass plays by Dolphins.
What we learned:
Browns — have one of the best O-lines full-stop, and dominated for 2.5 quarters, giving Baker more time than he could hope for. After some adjustments, Browns offense slowed down as Colts found ways to pressure Baker, leading to Baker turnovers and poor play. This is a legit playoff team, and so far is getting healthier with Njoku and Higgins back in the fold.
Colts — Rivers and the Colts injuries are catching up, but this team is solid when the other team has a rough offensive day as in Vikings, Jets and Bears, and beatable when their opponent has a strong showing, like Jags and Browns. Rivers is capable of a good play here and there, but he is also Mr. Check-down-Charlie with little arm strength, as any throw trying to get zip on looks like Rivers is pushing with everything he’s got. The defense finally got pressure later in the game, but the Browns O-line won this one from the start.
* Great run fake / naked bootleg by Mayfield on first drive.
* Browns O-line dominated early, giving ton of time for Baker, results in FG on first drive.
* Nice first drive by Colts, taking what defense gives him, but Rivers almost picked in endzone, sacked and goes for it 4th and 2 - getting TD.
* Landry cam up big repeatedly for Baker.
* Browns also go for it on 4th down and get it, followed up by TD.
* Rivers almost another interception targeting TY.
* Browns kept getting exposed down middle of field, when Colts were not dumping ball or swing passes.
* Absolutely zero pressure on Baker through first 1.5 quarters.
* Higgins back and gets nice TD catch.
* Absolutely zero pressure on Baker through first 2 quarters, and I mean no one even close.
* Rivers throws an interception ball for the 3rd time, but dropped.
* Mayfield lets one sail and almost picked by Xavier Rhodes
* 20-10 at half for Browns, look demonstrably better than this banged up Colts team with ancient QB Rivers.
* Rivers throws pick 6, trying to dump off late to TY after getting pressured.
* Colts answer on next play kickoff return for TD.
* Mayfield finally gets sacked in 3rd Q, then next play forces pass with pressure and throws pick.
* David Njoku is also back which is great for this o-line and passing options for TE
* Rivers called for intentional grounding in endzone, what a terrible play by Rivers again, Browns getting strong pressure.
* Rivers picked again trying to force to TY. He also has no strength in his arm, he looks like he tries as hard as he can on any pass needing velocity.
* Mayfield picked on a fluke getting hit as he released. His arm look hobbled after the throw, something to monitor.
* Rivers nearly picked again driving ball, settle for FG.
* Browns run out clock with FG.