The Knish’s NFL 2021: Buy, Sell, and Hold

NFL 2021- Buy, Sell, and Hold

A review of all thirty-two teams with a buy, sell or hold rating. The rating is a hybrid of sorts. On the one hand, it identifies teams the models think will continue to perform well. It also identifies teams that may experience a negative regression. The value to the sports bettor is in identifying the teams with an unanticipated buy or sell rating. The betting market may not have caught up to those teams yet. 

For example, in the buy section, both Minnesota and Detroit are teams on which we are likely to find good value as the season progresses. Conversely, the Patriots, Panthers, and Broncos are likely to provide value in the sell section as the season progresses. 

Detroit LionsBuyI openly mocked Coach Campbell and his “bite their kneecaps” mentality. I still think it is stupid. But this team plays hard. They can run the ball, and they will be a tough out for most teams
Cleveland BrownsBuyI am buying the Browns, but we need to see OBJ emerge as a consistent threat. He has been the missing piece to this offense. Not having him against KC to go to on the final drive cost the Browns the win in Arrowhead. He makes the entire offense much more effective.
Minnesota VikingsBuyI am buying Zimmer and Cousins ability. I have the feeling that this team is going to get annihilated by Covid. But as the model predicted in the preseason, they are the second-best team in a bad North Division
New Orleans SaintsBuyIt is not going to be week one, but neither is it going to be week two. This is a middle-of-the-road team with an upside. Sean Payton is a mastermind offensively. They have a great defense. Kamara can be a one-person show until Michael Thomas returns.
Buffalo BillsBuyThis is a tentative buy. It was Washington, and (am I allowed to say it now? there pathetic defense) but Allen was accurate. If he is accurate, they are among the AFC’s best teams. The coaching staff will do everything for Allen but throw the ball.
Los Angeles RamsBuyCan I buy them twice? The model loved them in the preseason. The model loves them now. Stafford is everything the model said he would be and more. The Rams face the 26th easiest remaining schedule in the NFL.
Seattle SeahawksBuyI am concerned. The model predicted that they would finish third in the West, and I wanted to fudge the math so badly. The loss to Minnesota does not bother me. The loss to the Titans at home does. Plus, they have to play the Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals twice. Perhaps it’s just another typical Pete Carroll-coached team. Can someone remind me why we all think he is so good?
Green Bay PackersBuyGreen Bay will win the North with relative ease. They are in the second tier of NFC teams that could vie for the Conference Championship.
Tampa Bay BuccaneersBuyIt was not a great look last week against the Rams. Still easy to write it off with Brady and injuries. I expect them to get healthy this week in Foxboro. Their pass defense is atrocious so they signed Richard Sherman. I can only imagine Sherman and Brown going after each other in practice. Those are two mentally troubled athletes.
Las Vegas RaidersBuyI wrote about the Raiders last week. Ther schedule has been challenging, and it gets a lot tougher from here on out. This team is not going anywhere. They are talented and will hang around all season. However, they have glaring holes that will be exposed
Los Angeles ChargersBuyHerbert is that good. His coaching has not been. This new staff needs to get their feet under them and starting putting this guy in better positions. He has every throw in the book, and he is unflappable.
Arizona CardinalsHoldPerhaps my most surprising hold. They have played the 26th most easy schedule. The rest of the season they face the 13th most difficult. Murray is playing out of his mind, but the model has questions going forward
San Francisco 49ersHoldInjuries are a problem yet again. Garoppolo is a fine quarterback. Not great. Mostly decent. They are a team that could crater. I respect Shanahan but not as much as most and only to a point. He is sort of the Chris Paul of coaches. The talent is beyond question. Yet, he has had some pretty dramatic, memorable meltdowns in high leverage moments.
Atlanta FalconsHoldThe model picked them to finish second in the NFC South and make the playoffs. I generally abandon sinking ships and will, but the water is only to my knees, and so I will keep bailing it for a little longer.
New York JetsHoldThey are not going to be good, but look for them to improve starting this week. Especially Zach Wilson. He began his NFL career against three elite defensive minds. They played the 5th most difficult schedule through the first three weeks. Now they play the 5th easiest remaining schedule.
Dallas CowboysBuyThey are 2-1 and looked good in all three games. Dak has been playing at his ceiling. Their schedule for the first three weeks was the 11th most difficult. Their remaining schedule is the 9th easiest. I buy this team all day long. The NFC East should not be close. Dallas could sweep the division.
Kansas City ChiefsHoldBefore the season, I wrote about the model’s prediction that KC would regress especially in one-score games. They have. They could easily be 0-3.
Baltimore RavensHold2-1 looks a lot better than 0-3, which they could easily be right now. There are a lot of red flags in Baltimore. It is a hold, but the numbers say they may devolve to sell. They have the eighth-most demanding remaining schedule
Cincinnati BengalsSellBeware! The model believes they will be market corrected. They beat a disinterested Minnesota team, lost to Chicago, and beat the lowly Steelers. Their remaining schedule ranks as the 9th most difficult. This is the high point of their season…all downhill from here.
New England PatriotsSellThe model loved Mac Jones for rookie of the year. He has been, without question, the best rookie QB. He will be all season. But this team is not as good as people thought. First, losing to Miami looks way worse now than when it happened. Then they beat the Jets and lost to the Saints. People had this team in the playoffs. Pump the brakes. They will be 1-3 after this weekend.
Jacksonville JaguarsSellNot worth the words.
WashingtonSellTheir defense is amazing. Oh, are we no longer blindly saying that anymore? I have stated all season long that this defense is wildly overrated. They are. Yes, they lost Fitz, but that will not make the difference, many think. They are just not that good.
Chicago BearsSellNagy is incompetent. They have no offensive line. They have played the most difficult schedule to date, but it hardly matters. Winter came early in the city of broad shoulders.
Tennessee TitansSellThey have the most talent in a weak AFC South, but I do not understand the team. They lost Arthur Smith and seemed to have decided to move away from everything they did well. The offensive scheme holds them back from their peak performance. Still, they win the South. Maybe with a losing record, but they win the South.
Indianapolis ColtsSellWentz is Wentz. Just blah. Mediocre. Love Nelson. Love Reich.
Miami DolphinsSellEverything that could go wrong has gone wrong. They hung with the Raiders, which is a positive sign, but they needed a pick-sox to do it. Luck is no basis for belief in a team.
Carolina PanthersSellI know they are 3-0, but I have written extensively about my feelings on this team. They are not as good as their record suggests and will regress. Beating the Jets, Saints, and Texans doesn’t wow me. And now they are injured and facing the fourth most difficult remaining schedule.
New York GiantsSellLet me think about this…Gettleman, Judge, the Clapper, and Mr. Jones. Hard sell. If all four were fired today, I would buy the Giants. Ha! I just saw Judge rip analytics. He said “if Excel won games, Bill Gates would be killing it.” I love how you only hear this from losing coaches, that do not use analytics? Coincidence? I make a point to never bet on organizations that brag about being ignorant.
Philadelphia EaglesSellSo many hyped Hurts to epic portions for beating Atlanta. So much so they backed him over the 49ers. The kid looked good, but we need to be serious. He was just flummoxed and picked off twice against a weak Dallas Defense and Dan Quinn. Long, long, long way to go.
Houston TexansSellImagine if they had traded Watson when he demanded it. Imagine the haul and assets they would have. Imagine the young quarterback and the future we could discuss. On a personal level, I am glad. I find nothing about the McNair’s respectable. This is the free market economy, Cal. Your incompetence will sink your franchise.
Denver BroncosSellI love the Broncos and bet their win total over heavily in the preseason. Bridgewater looks great. Glad they got off to a hot start. This team is a little bit of a mirage. They have beaten the Giants, Jets, and Jaguars. The Broncos enjoyed the easiest schedule of any team to date in 2021. The JV season is over. They have the sixth-most difficult schedule remaining this year.
Pittsburgh SteelersSellCan I sell them twice? It is not complicated. They have a terrible offensive line that they did nothing to repair. They drafted a running back in the first round! Absurd. Running backs do really well behind bad offensive lines. Ben is thoroughly washed. They are bad. Bad. Still, the public supports them and the name Big Ben, so I will fade them every opportunity I have. AND the best part, they have the second most difficult remaining schedule. I bet the Steelers would win between 6-8 games this season. That may be a stretch.

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