Passing is king in the NFL.
Joe Burrow got paid a truckload of money to suck through two games and hurt his calf. Jonathan Taylor can’t beg his way out of Indianapolis.
No matter, Atlanta is trying to prove the importance of running the ball.
The Falcons went a surprising 7-10 last season with a smash mouth offense that ran the ball. The Falcons exceeded their 4.5 market win total despite having the worst pass defense by my adjusted success rate.
Atlanta comes into this season with second year QB Desmond Ridder. In limited action last season, I took Ridder’s passing success rate and adjusted for opposing defenses. He had an expected success rate of 40.5%, worse than the NFL average of 42.8%.
How did Atlanta help Ridder this off season? They drafted RB Bijan Robinson with their top pick. While Robinson does lead the team in targets this season, it was surprising to see a running back get taken at 8th.
While I thought Detroit’s offense might be overrated coming into the season, they have looked good through two games. QB Jared Goff has had a 54.2% passing success rate through 2 games, third best in the NFL (43.0% average).
On defense, both of these teams have struggled.
Detroit bolstered their secondary this off season with free agents, but CB Emmanuel Moseley hasn’t played yet. Safety CJ Gardner-Johnson went to injured reserve this week.
Detroit got shredded by a Seattle offense that struggled against the Los Angeles Rams the prior week.
Atlanta’s defense has seemed to perform better, as they rank 7th in passing success rate allowed. However, they haven’t faced top competition:
- Week 1: Carolina and rookie QB Bryce Young.
- Week 2: Green Bay without top RB Aaron Jones and WR Christian Watson.
My member numbers like Detroit by 6.1 points at home. This prediction hasn’t drifted far from my wisdom of crowds preseason estimate of 6.0. This model is 55% against the spread the first six weeks of the season.
Detroit is good at throwing the football, and Atlanta is probably not. There is value in Detroit -3.
Here are three other football predictions available to members of The Power Rank.
Oregon will beat Colorado by 19.5 at home. My numbers were wildly off market on Colorado the past two weeks, and they went 1-1 against the spread. In week 4, they are reasonably close to Oregon -21 in the markets. CB and WR Travis Hunter will not play for Colorado.
Ohio State will beat Notre Dame by 1.4 on the road. It is difficult to evaluate Ohio State QB Kyle McCord after 3 games. However, the Buckeye defense has been elite with a 30.4% success rate allowed compared to a 41.4% college football average.
Miami will beat Denver by 10.1 at home. These are two NFL teams headed in opposite directions. In the preseason, my wisdom of crowds model would make this 6.7, close to the Miami -6.5 of the markets.
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