The Cold, Hard Football Facts
Intelligence Index rates each NFL team by how well they play in situational
“Smart” teams do all the little things right on both sides
of the ball: they win the turnover battle, play well in the red zone, convert
third downs, excel on special teams and rarely suffer those dumb, drive-killing
penalties (or drive-extending penalties if playing defense). “Dumb” teams do all
those little things wrong.
More importantly, smart teams consistently win games and
beat the spread. Dumb teams consistently lose games and lose against the spread.
Consider this: the four “dumbest” teams in football
according to the
CHFF Intelligence Index are an unbelievable 0-19 ATS (Steelers, Giants,
Texans, Jaguars; see chart below).
The Top 6 on the
Intelligence Index includes all three undefeated teams and are a combined
27-3 straight up and 20-10 (.667) against the spread.
More specially, we highlight each week the NFL’s “Mental
Mismatches.” These are games in which a smart team squares off against a dumb
We’ve cited eight Mental Mismatches so far this year. They
are a perfect 8-0 both straight up and against the spread. Not only that, our
smart teams have won easy, by an averageof 24.0 PPG (34.2 to 8.2).
We have three new Mental Mismatches this week below.
The Kansas City Chiefs continue to be hands down the
smartest team in the league, at an unsustainable +13.36 right now. They’ll come
down to earth a bit, just because they have to, but they’d need some real brain
farts to get down to No. 2 Indianapolis (+7.87).
The Intelligence Index through Week 5
THIS WEEK’S MENTAL MISMATCHES
Last week, we made one pick and it came through with ease
-- San Francisco -8 at home against the Texans won 34-3.
Our eight Mental Mismatches are not only 8-0 both straight
up and against the spread,
they've all been easy victories, with an average score of 32.4 for the smart
teams and 8.4 for the dumb teams.
This week, we're going to go with three picks, all spread
out across the week as it turns out.
The biggest Intelligence mismatch this week is fairly
obvious – Jacksonville +26.5 at Denver. So, are we picking it? No. That is a big
old ass-load worth of points, and being judicious with this indicator is part of
the reason we’re 8-0 thus far.
This is also a Jacksonville team that had its first “smart”
game of the season last week, aided by the return of Justin Blackmon and the
eventual (and merciful) absence of Blaine Gabbert. Denver may well win by 80,
but not on our dime.
We like Chicago (-8) at home Thursday night over the
Giants. While “they’re due” is all well and good, the fact is that this
number is a good half-touchdown too low based on the on-field play thus far.
Chicago is of average intelligence, but they’re a whole heck of a lot smarter
than Big Blue right now. Add a short week to prepare and a road trip? We’ll be a
bit shocked if we’re not 9-0 Friday morning.
There are a few matchups between teams at the bottom of the
Index that we’re staying away from, including Houston/St. Louis and
But we are going to recommend Philadelphia (-1) at Tampa
Bay. The Eagles (-3.19 on the index) are coming off a brainy effort, Tampa
(-7.99) is doing the opposite. We’ve seen that teams with coaches on the hot
seat (KC and Philly last year, KC in 2012) were really dumb, and Greg Schiano is
on the hottest seat in the league right now.
And finally, Indianapolis (-1.5) at San Diego on Monday
night. The Chargers aren’t that dumb (just -0.32), but they’ve slipped each
of the last two weeks while Indianpolis has gone from 8th to 4th to 2nd. Those
trends are enough to make this our final selection.
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against the spread through the prism of our 22 cutting-edge Quality Stats.
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