I've posted overrated and underrated NFL teams on my NFL Picks page for a while, but I thought it deserved its own section. I'll update this page every week during the season as well as periodically during the offseason. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Updated Oct. 22, 2018
NFL Overrated Teams:
I love Detroit's offense if Kerryon Johnson continues to receive way more carries than LeGarrette Blount. However, I'm listing the Lions as an overrated team because their defense is horrible. Brock Osweiler looked like a great quarterback against them!
Also, I don't know if any of their wins are overly impressive. Yes, they beat the Patriots, but so did the Jaguars in September. New England was sleepwalking through that game, as the team is wont to do early in the year. The Lions defeated the Packers, who had countless missed field goals from Mason Crosby. They then defeated the Dolphins and Osweiler, and that's not all that great. Meanwhile, they were blown out by the Jets and were the only team to fall to the 49ers, albeit with Jimmy Garoppolo under center.
Now, I don't think the Lions are a bad team, but I'm seeing them bet at a high clip against the Seahawks, and I don't think that's warranted.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams looked unstoppable against the Vikings on a recent Thursday night. When that happened, I wrote, "Be wary of teams that appear that way on national TV. They can often disappoint afterward because they're way overvalued. Remember the Eagles from numerous years ago with their controversial quarterback when they couldn't be stopped against the Redskins? That's what the Rams' win over Minnesota felt like."
As it turns out, the Rams haven't covered the spread since beating Minnesota, save for their Week 7 victory over C.J. Boat Hard, or whatever his name is. They've beaten seven teams that are a combined 18-28-1. Because looking at numbers is lazy, let's analyze the wins:
- Rams beat the Raiders after trailing at halftime. Oakland's only win thus far came via horrible officiating versus a rookie quarterback making his first start.
- Rams shut out the Cardinals, who were nearly blanked at home the week before versus the Redskins.
- Rams beat the Chargers by 12. The same Chargers who nearly lost to C.J. Beathard.
- Rams defeated the Vikings by seven. Minnesota tied the Packers and a hobbled Aaron Rodgers and then was blown out by Buffalo. Plus, some poor officiating buried the Vikings.
- Rams snuck out a win against a pedestrian Seattle team, as Los Angeles couldn't stop the run.
- Rams beat the Broncos by three, although they were up by more before some garbage scores. Case Keenum was horrible until the Rams went into a prevent, and Denver stinks overall.
- Rams crushed C.J. Boat Hat, or whatever his name is.
I understand that the Rams seem unstoppable, but that's precisely what makes them overrated.
I've been down on the Vikings the whole summer, betting a prop on them to not make the playoffs this year at +240. They looked bad heading into the Philadelphia game, but while they won, it wasn't a very convincing victory. The Eagles made so many countless errors, yet despite this, Philadelphia was still in position to win in the fourth quarter - until, at least, Alshon Jeffery dropped a pass that would've converted a third-and-20.
The Vikings struggle in many areas. They have trouble covering downfield against receivers that Xavier Rhodes isn't blanketing. They can't cover the middle of the field because their linebackers struggle against the pass. They can't block because their offensive line sucks. The cherry on top is Everson Griffen's condition, which is hurting the pass rush. And now, Mike Hughes is out for the year, while Andrew Sendejo is dealing with an injury. Rhodes is also hurt. The Vikings beat the Jets by 20, but that was a close game for a while that eventually got out of hand.
The Steelers are back to overrated territory after winning in Cincinnati. Pittsburgh needed a blown non-call on an offensive pass interference to do it; not to mention several drops by the Bengals in the opening half. Despite those drops, the Bengals still had a 21-20 lead with a minute remaining.
The reason Pittsburgh is overrated is because its defense isn't very good. The team has major problems at linebacker and in the secondary. Recall that just two weeks ago, the Steelers couldn't stop Joe Flacco from moving up and down the field against them in Pittsburgh. Before that, Ryan Fitzpatrick shredded them in the second half. Things have not been fixed; rather, the Steelers got lucky in their latest victory.
San Angeles Chargers
The Chargers only lost to the Rams and Chiefs. The Chargers only lost to the Chiefs and Rams. Hey, the Chargers only lost to the Rams and Chiefs. The Chargers only lost to the Chiefs and Rams. Have you paid attention? The Chargers only lost to the Rams and Chiefs. The Chargers only lost to the Chiefs and Rams. Hey, guess what? The Chargers only lost to the Rams and Chiefs. The Chargers only lost to the Chiefs and Rams. Have you heard the news? The Chargers only lost to the Rams and Chiefs. The Chargers only lost to the Chiefs and Rams. Did you hear? The Chargers only lost to the Rams and Chiefs. The Chargers only lost to the Chiefs and Rams. You'll never guess who only lost to the Rams and Chiefs: The Chargers only lost to the Rams and Chiefs. The Chargers only lost to the Chiefs and Rams. Rams Chiefs. Chiefs Rams. Rams Chiefs. Chiefs Rams. Rams Rams Rams. Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs. Rams Chiefs Rams Chiefs Rams Chiefs Rams. Chiefs Rams Chiefs Rams Chiefs Rams Chiefs. Rams Rams. Chiefs Chiefs.
Sorry, I thought I was a member of the national media for a second. Yes. The Chargers only lost to the Rams and Chiefs. This is true. So what? They got blown out in both games. They barely beat C.J. Beathard at home. Their other four wins are against the Bills, who suck; the Raiders, who suck; the Browns, who saw Baker Mayfield get hurt in the first quarter; and the Titans, who shot themselves in the foot repeatedly. None of those teams have winning records.
The Chargers can't defend the middle of the field, and their pass rush isn't very good. I don't trust their offensive line either, and they have a shaky coaching staff. They have reached obscene levels of overrated, and I can't wait to keep making money betting against them.
NFL Underrated Teams:
The Bears are 3-3 right now, but they could easily be 5-1. They lost to the Packers amid an amazing Aaron Rodgers comeback, but don't forget that they had a double-digit lead prior to Rodgers suffering an injury. At Miami, they blew another double-digit lead because of some bad mistakes and then wilted in the 100-degree heat and humidity. The Bears have been the better team on the field in each of their first five games thus far. I don't think they were better than the Patriots, but New England is arguably the best team in the NFL, so that's OK.
I can't believe I'm writing this, but I believe the Jaguars are underrated. They were way overrated at the beginning of their season, especially after they won their "Super Bowl" victory over the Patriots in the 100-degree Jacksonville heat and humidity. Now, following several losses, I believe they've entered underrated territory.
Say what you want about Blake Bortles, but the Jaguars still have one of the top defenses in the NFL. I don't think they're nearly as bad as they've looked in their previous three losses, especially in the 40-7 defeat versus the Cowboys, where they showed zero effort.
Now, you may have noticed the asterisk here, and that would be that the Jaguars are underrated as long as Bortles is the quarterback. If Cody Kessler starts, I don't like Jacksonville at all. Bortles sucks because he doesn't care most of the time, but he at least has NFL-caliber talent. Kessler is not a functional pro signal-caller.
The Titans got some flak for losing to the Bills, and they got even more flak for the 21-0 home loss to the Ravens in which Marcus Mariota was sacked 11 times. That's all everyone discussed on TV last week when talking about Tennessee. Eleven sacks.
To no surprise, the Titans performed much better in London. They outplayed the Chargers, but killed themselves with errors. The Titans, who could easily be 5-2 right now, will be an underrated team once exiting their upcoming bye.