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Home / Articles / Mike Handzelek's NFL Wild-Card Round Analysis/Review/Notes

Mike Handzelek's NFL Wild-Card Round Analysis/Review/Notes

By: Point Shaver Handzelek     Date: Jan 17, 2024
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Saturday, January 13, 2024 Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans (NFL) - 4:30 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: -2.5/-110 Cleveland Browns Rating: 8* Mike's Wildcard Advancer (LOSS) There's many reasons why I'm taking Cleveland but @ an advantageous & strategic number. Brownies' edge rushers are more than a hand full with DE Myles Garrett being healthy & creating havoc in the backfield with his 14 sacks along with 3rd-yr. man out of Notre Dame DE Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah whose registered a whopping TWENTY TFL's (tackles for loss) this season. If Cleveland can keep Houston's running game in check with Devin Singletary (898 yards & 4 TD's), look for Browns' DC Jim Schwartz with a rested "D" to masterfully scheme out the Texans' #3 overall draft pick in rookie QB C.J. Stroud (23/5 TD/INT, 4,108 passing yards). Even though Houston is the #7 passing offense, they have to tangle with the NFL's #1 passing defense. Yes, WR Nico Collins (80 snags, 1,297 yards & 8 TD's) is a deep threat & TE Dalton Schultz (59 catches, 635 yards & 5 TD's). However, I'm looking for Schwartz to switch off CB's Denzel Ward & INT-leader (4) Martin Emerson to be physical with Collins & neutralize him @ the line of scrimmage. Then we have the matter on the OTHER side of the ball with former Super Bowl MVP & 16-yr. vet Joe "off the couch" Flacco (13/8 TD/INT ratio, 1,616 yards) coming in as the Browns' QB to go a super-solid 4-1 SU. Why has he worked so effectively? Because OC Alex Van Pelt with HC Kevin Stefanski (career 2-0 ATS in playoffs) devised an excellent system he can work in by the use of multiple TE's (2 or 3) to provide him time to pick D's apart using a bevy of receivers like WR Amari Cooper (72 catches, 1,250 yards, 5 TD's), TE David Njoku (team-leading 81 catches, 882 yards & 6 TD's) & Elijah Moore (59 catches, 640 yards & 2 TD's). My bottom line says you just can't IGNORE Houston's struggles versus passing defenses like the Browns, Jets, Ravens & Panthers that ranked 1st, 2nd, 4th & 7th by a combines 106-50 score. Yes, both teams are equally thrilled to be here considering neither have been to or won a Super Bowl. But when we crunch the OVERWHELMING numbers, they reveal a cold ATS Houston squad that's 0-4 as a playoff underdog, 5-13-1 as home dog between 0.5 -3.0, 1-4 following an ATS win & 2-5 overall as a playoff dog. On the flip side, the up-sided ATS Cleveland troops are 4-0 as a favorite from 0.5-3.0, 10-3 following a SU loss of more than 14, 6-0 the last 6 as chalk, 8-1 following a SU & ATS loss, 6-0 versus teams with a winning SU record & 4-0 after allowing 30 or more points. Flacco is a super-solid 11-4 versus the number in playoff games included being 9-3 ATS on the road & a perfect 6-0 SU/5-1 ATS in his team's initial playoff game of the post-season. He has incentives too. He'll get $500,000 if he gets to the Super Bowl & $1,000,000 if he wins it. HC Kevin Stefanski has a perfect career mark of 10-0 SU versus the AFC South. The Browns come from a tougher AFC North (3 playoff teams & a combined 43-25 record/no teams under .500) compared to the Texans in an AFC South (1 playoff team & a combined record of 34-34). We also have a rookie HC AND a rookie QB in Stroud that show a QB in his 1st playoff start going 20-43 ATS (31.7%) since 03'. Here's where we'll play it. Let's go to NRG Stadium in Texas to play the CLEVELAND BROWNS (buying to + 4 1/2 @ -245) for 8 Stars as my Wildcard Advancer! NOTES: Well, it was the 1st bad loss of the season with the Houston 45-14 blowout of Cleveland. Browns' DC Jim Schwartz played press coverages & got burned repeatedly by the strong-armed rookie sensation C.J. Stroud. 3rd-string QB Joe Flacco WASN'T made to play from behind which was evident in the 2nd half when Houston CB's were sitting on deep routes. The Texans march on momentarily. What happened in Dallas? Packers' HC Matt LaFleur had a SUPER game plan as he coached circles around the the Cowboys' DC Dan Quinn's defense. Quinn learned NOTHING from what happened to Cleveland's "D" with the over-aggressive approach. Micah Parsons cheated up & went for the bait on QB Jordan Love's fake hand-offs to RB Aaron Jones on a half-dozen or more occasions. The Dallas "D" struggled with 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE's) & were caught not making proper adjustments on many pre-snap movements. Even though Dak Prescott did throw 2 INT's, the bulk of his 403 passing yards were thrown in obvious passing situations with Green Bay up by 3 TD's or more. Overall, he was indecisive & his offense was predictable. It remains to be seen if the Pack can be successful using that "excellent techniques with simplicity" approach. Rookie WR Romeo Doubs was "THE MAN" tallying 151 yards in receptions @ over 25 yards per snag. Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones KNOWS 42-25 in regular season is a fine record. However, HC Mike McCarthy's playoff record of 1-3 just doesn't cut the cheese in Texas. If he can put his ego aside, getting EXPERIENCED people in the right position WILL work. HC Bill Belichick & OC Josh McDaniels with the Cowboys' offensive talent & what Belichick can mold the "D" into could be shocking. A transformation is in order & the rest is up to Jerry. If McCarthy's back, it's maybe a divisional crown & not much further. The Eagles were as predicted or should I say as stated. When your HC in Nick Sirianni says he DOESN'T know how to fix it, that wasn't a good sign coming into Tampa Bay NOR is it a good sign for next season. If owner Jeffrey Lurie has ANY common sense, he knows he'll need fresh blood in the HC'ing & co-ordinators channels considering his team could be possibly losing close to 40 years experience with the vacancies of 3 veteran players who were staples for over a decade. You knew the end was near after they failed to execute their signature "tush push" near the goal line. Buffalo is a TOUGH team to beat when they don't turn it over AND establish a ground game (34 rushes for 179 yards). The Steelers are just a different team when the head of the defense BIG #90 OLB T.J. Watt isn't roaming around. Pittsburgh now stands a putrid 1-11 when Watt is missing from the lineup. Josh Allen has an opportunity to silence the critics a bit IF he can finally beat Patrick Mahomes in a post-season contest. By the way, this weekend's game in Orchard Park is Mahomes FIRST true road playoff game. All the others playoff games were @ home or @ a neutral site. It remains to be seen if the Detroit Lions can get past the Buccaneers & make it to back to the NFC Championship. Their last time there was a bitter pill to swallow when they travelled to Washington & lost 41-10 in the 1991-92 season. Mike Handzelek's 2023-24 NFL Overall Seasonal Record: 30-3 for 91% + 16,800 NET UNITS of PROFIT Mike's 2023-24 CFB Final Overall Record: 16-7-1 for 69% + 1,490 NET UNITS of PROFIT Mike's NFL/CFB Overall Record: 46-10-1 for 82% + 18,290 NET UNITS of PROFIT Mike's Private Plays Hi-Roller 3/4+ Team Parlays Record: 12-4 for 75% + 3,810 NET UNITS Mike's ALL_Football Record: + 22,100 NET UNITS of PROFIT

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