Ok, so the changes are happening, but Owl Eats Football perseveres.
Instead of our usual intro, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of what to expect from the site moving forward.
With the growing responsibilities I have outside of the site (check out my Twitter - @stueast13 - for more), we are paring down the offerings to three articles a week. In doing so, we are also going to try to offer you stronger content at a time that is going to better serve you. Here’s an example:
Last week, in my Best Bets on Thursday, I chose the Atlanta Falcons -2.5. By the time the weekend rolled around, however, it was clear that the Cardinals were in a more favorable position than I thought, and I ended up winning a boatload of money betting their moneyline (and it would have been a yachtload if the Dolphins had also won).
As such, everything is going to be pushed back so you can expect the content to look like this:
Mon/Tue - "What Didn't Happen" Recap
Wed/Thur - Early Best Bets Article
Fri/Sat - Best Bets Article
With this set up, I will have more time to research and get the articles to you, and then they will arrive at a time where they are more actionable.
In the end, though, none of this means anything if we don’t make sure we are picking winners. And to pick winners we need to understand teams as they are, and not just based upon the results they have posted.
With that in mind, this week’s “What didn’t happen” is being reimagined as “What if this did happen” so we can see how fragile some of our opinions of these teams are.
Without further ado, here is what could have happened:
What if - Nelson Agholor hadn’t dropped a game-winning touchdown against the Falcons.
The Eagles are currently 3-3 and heading into a crucial matchup against the Cowboys for the top spot in the NFC East. In many ways, this game could decide which of these teams can be expected to salvage their season and which is going to tailspin into crisis mode.
But, what is useful to realize, is that this game would look a lot different if Nelson Agholor hadn’t dropped that touchdown in Week 2.
If that didn’t happen, the Eagles would be 4-2 right now, Carson Wentz would be getting MVP buzz, and the Cowboys would be more worried about slipping behind the Giants than leapfrogging the Eagles.
In fact, when you look more closely at the Eagles’ schedule, you realize that they have played a brutal sting of opponents and that the Vikings were the first time they did not have a chance to win at the end of the game.
Back to reality, and this picture can help us see that the Eagles present a good opportunity to jump on a quality team whose record is deceiving us.
On the flip side, the Agholor drop represents the only Falcons win of the season. Without that win, there is a much higher chance that Dan Quinn is fired, and we would all be talking about the Falcons as one of the worst teams in the league.
Instead, the Falcons are only three point underdogs against the Rams this weekend (Best Bet alert) and the NFL community has only not fully embraced this team as a potential first picker come June’s draft.
In both cases, this drop has masked what could be a two opposite cases: the Eagles are better than their record and the Falcons might be worse than almost everyone else.
What if - Greg Zuerlein had hit the 44 yard field goal to beat the Seahawks in Week 5.
Man, this is a story of two teams’ record snowballing into the whole world losing their minds.
For one, no one is currently able to see the Rams as anything less than an abject disaster that has no chance to turn it around.
While I concede that Jared Goff has been bad and that Sean McVay has lost a little magic, this kick would have totally flipped the entire narrative. If the usually surefooted Zuerlein had made a very makable field goal, then these two teams would be tied in the NFC West at 4-2 and the Rams would be prime wild card candidates.
Instead, their current three game losing streak has them as NFL pariahs who are currently favored BY THREE POINTS AGAINST THE FALCONS?!?! (Can you tell I have a lot of faith in this pick yet?)
Meanwhile, the Seahawks are NFL darlings at 5-1 with Russell Wilson getting (much deserved) non-stop MVP buzz.
If this kick goes through, however, then the cracks that are there would be much clearer. Namely that the Seahawks are winning games against mediocre competition by a shockingly low margin.
Removing their win against the Cardinals and their loss against the Saints, the Seahawks have beaten the Bengals, the Steelers, the Rams, and the Browns by a COMBINED 8 points. There is something to be said for the infrastructure in place that can win close games. It is another thing to be in close games against this competition.
Moving forward, we need to have faith in the Rams to be more like a 4-2 team that lost a fluky game to Tampa Bay and got beat by the best team in the NFC. We also need to treat Seattle like a team that could barely pull it out against the Bengals. Doing so will win us a lot of money.
What if - Kliff Kingsbury hadn’t fallen in love with 20-yard field goals against the Ravens.
My day one fans will know that this is perhaps the most infuriating moment of the NFL season for me so far.
In Week 2, in a game in Baltimore, Arizona kicked three field goals from inside the five in a game in which they lost 23-17. To say the deserved to win is an understatement. The truth is they did win the game in every way but the score, and they only lost that because Kliff Kingsbury is more conservative than a nun in a snowsuit.
Had he been able to turn anyone of those kicks into a touchdown, and had the Cardinals continued to dominate that game, two things would have happened: the Cardinals would be considered a dark horse good team and the Ravens would be exposed for the frauds they are.
First, the Cardinals. With a win there, they would currently be 3-2-1 and one game in front of the aforementioned Rams. That would also put them half a game out of the Wild Card in the NFC.
Instead, the Cardinals are 2-3-1 and head to play the Giants in the Meadowlands this week...as THREE POINT UNDERDOGS (maybe you’re seeing a trend amongst these what ifs…)
Given how Kyler Murray has been playing and given the schedule the Cardinals have left, this is a team that is being significantly undervalued in the betting market (again, I won a boatload on a moneyline bet with them as underdogs last week).
In Baltimore’s case, though, there is reason to believe that they are more frauds than most think. Outside of Week 1’s drubbing of Miami, this team hasn’t topped 28 points in any other contest. In that span, they have also beaten the Steelers by three in overtime and the Bengals by six at home!
Were the Cardinals game to have been a loss, then this team would be sitting at 3-3 and only one game ahead of both the Steelers and the Browns for the division lead.
In the upcoming week, they play a Seattle team whose good standing is equally as fragile. That might be a stay away, but moving forward this is a team to attack as a mediocre team masquerading as a contender.