COOKING IN THE BAY
Dalvin Cook looked healthy, racking up 120 total yards and two touchdowns in the Wild Card win over the Saints. Minnesota fed its workhorse running back, as Cook amassed 31 touches - a trend we hope carries into this weekend versus the San Francisco 49ers.
The Niners have an exceptional pass defense — the second-best in the league — which leaves Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota offense to try to exploit San Fran’s No. 11 rush defense, which allowed a middle-of-the-pack 113 yards rushing per game over the course of the year.
Cook will be going from turf to grass this week which helps the Minnesota RB. Cook’s splits favor grass over turf: 4.77 yards per carry and 10.16 yards per reception on grass versus 4.54 ypc and 8.52 ypr indoors.
With the Niners giving up the fewest passing yards to running backs, we're going to avoid Cook’s total yards and instead take the Over on his 80.5 rushing yards as the Minny RB has averaged 107.5 rushing yards per game against Top-10 teams this year.**video
TAKING HENRY OUT OF THE EQUATION
The Baltimore Ravens have come out of the gates strong this year, leading the league in first-quarter points at eight per game. The Ravens scored 22 times in the first quarter in 2019 with 16 of those being touchdowns. Baltimore will have its hands full with Derrick Henry, but if Lamar Jackson & Co. can jump out to an early lead, they could force Mike Vrabel and the offense to lean on the pass a bit more than they are used to. Tennessee finished last in the league in pass attempts per game over the final three weeks of the regular season.
Now that it's not his birthday and that Henry's hype is at its peak, Saturday night might be a great time to fade the league’s best rusher as his stock has never been higher.
The Ravens have allowed 101.2 rushing yards per game to opposing teams at home, which is the sixth-lowest production and included five Top-15 DVOA rushing offenses. We're taking a stab and fading the league’s leading rusher. Take Henry’s 93.5 rush yards and hit the Under.
If you want to somewhat hedge against yourself and against the elite skills of the Titans’ RB, look at Henry’s Over 0.5 rushing TDs for a very reasonable -117. Henry has scored a rushing touchdown AND been held to Under 93 rushing yards six times this year.
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WORST PASSING D IN PLAYOFFS
The Houston Texans are going from seeing Josh Allen in the pocket to the reigning MVP in Patrick Mahomes. This is a serious worry for a Houston secondary that gave up 266.4 passing yards during the season (fourth-most) and even more on the road at 293.4 yards (second-most).
Although Mahomes hasn’t looked like his 2018-self since the injury — over 260 yards just twice since Week 11 — the added rest will only help the K.C. QB, who averaged 276 yards passing at Arrowhead Stadium this season. Over the last five weeks of the regular season, Houston allowed 300-plus yards passing three times.
With RB Damien Williams receiving plenty of looks through the air and Houston giving up the fifth-most passing yards to RBs, these extra gains should help us push Mahomes’ passing total north of 298.5 yards - a total we're taking the Over on.
ONCE DESHAUN A TIME
We cashed last weekend with a Russell Wilson Over rushing total and are setting our sights on this weekend’s second-best running quarterback. Last week, Houston QB Deshaun Watson took off a season-high 14 times which he turned into 55 yards — with a long of 20 yards. Even leading up to the playoffs, with his team’s postseason survival at stake, Watson used his legs to get things done, averaging 6.7 rushes for 37.7 yards from Weeks 15 through 17.
Back in Week 6, Watson terrorized the Chiefs on the ground, racking up two rushing TDs on 42 yards on 10 carries. With the game on the line, Watson knows how to extend the plays and get yards - something he might have to do a lot if Houston trails early and throughout this game. We're backing the Over on Watson’s rushing total of 30.5 yards and putting a little something on his Over 0.5 rushing touchdowns.