Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Week 1 Pick

I jumped on my first pick of the year. I don’t like to use the “L” word, but I feel confident in my first selection.

Buffalo at New England -355 ( ML)

Last years meetings:
In the first meeting last year, New England was going through their injuries and had a bad game on national TV. Buffalo’s 3 headed monster of Kelly Holcomb, Willis Mcghee, and Eric Moulds played about as good as they could have played and they still lost. This year Holcomb will be on the bench, Moulds will be in Houston, and Mcghee will be the sole remaining starter. In the second appearance last year, JP Losman got the start and played very poorly. Tom Brady and the offense ran like a smooth machine that couldn’t be stopped. Brady completed over 70% of his passes, and Dillion ran for over 100 yards.

12/11/05 at Buffalo (35-7 Pats win)
JP Losman 10/27, 181 yds, 1 TD 3 INT
Willis Mcghee 8 rushes for 3 yards
Buffalo defense had only 1 sack

Brady 29/38, 329 yards, 2 TD- 2 INT
17 yards rushing 1 Rush TD ( 3 total)
Dillon 22 rushes for 102 yards, 1 TD

10/30/05 @ New England (21-16 Pats win)
Kelly Holcomb didn’t have a bad game with 263 yards 1 TD 1 INT
Mcghee had a good game with 31 rushes for 136 yards
Moulds had a solid game with 9 catches, 125 yards and 1 TD

In this meeting, Holcomb will be on the bench, Moulds will be in Houston, and Mcgehee won’t be facing an injured LB core and defense. New England had a horrible game and still WON by 5.

New England has beat Buffalo 5 times in a row since the first game of the 03-04 season where Buffalo won 31-0. In that game Brady threw 4 picks, Kevin Faulk was New England’s starting runningback and Drew Bledsoe, Travis Henry and Eric Moulds led the Bills to Victory.

New England is 21-3 at home in the past 3 years, and was 19-0 at home before last year including the playoffs. In the past 3 years New England has gone 15-3 against divisional opponents.

In the past 3 years, Buffalo has gone 7-16 on the road, and 7-11 in the division.

I am not a fan of Losman in Buffalo. I know they want to start him to gain experience for the future, but at this point in time Holcomb gives them a better chance to win. Last year Losman had a dismal QB rating of 64.9, he completed less than half of his passes ( 49.6%), and threw 8TD to 8 Ints with a limited offense. I think Losman is nowhere near able to read NFL defenses, and is just another Quarterback who has been “hyped” because of his mobility. The guy couldn’t even complete 50% of his passes, but since he ran a 4.6 40 yard dash people label him as having “potential”. The reason he was named the starter was because of an “ok” preseason against those vanillas preseason defenses. I have to admit that when I heard Losman was starting that it confirmed this bet for me. He only completed 37% of his passes and threw 3 Interceptions against Bill Belichicks defense last year which gives his team no chance to win. Now that Moulds is in Houston, Losman won’t have any former pro bowlers on his offense. Against the injured New England defense, Mcghee played well rushing for 100+, but in the second appearance against a healthier Pats defense he didn’t show up ( 8 carries for 3 yards).

I think for Buffalo to win, they would have to run the ball, play defense, and win the turnover battle. Mcghee will be running against the 6th best defense against the run, and Losman is turnovers waiting to happen. On defense, I can’t see Buffalo having much success against Brady. The Buffalo defense ranked last in the NFL on 3rd down conversions, and were bad in the red zone as well. New England loves to throw to those quality tight ends in the red zone and should turn red zone appearances into touchdowns rather than field goals against the weak D. Brady has looked sharp in the preseason, and I expect that Pats to score first ( like they always do), and try and take Mcghee out of the game early. If the Bills are down early, it will force Losman to throw the ball against Belichicks defense which is a disaster waiting to happen.

When I heard Losman was starting I had to pull the trigger. The odds are still a little cheaper than they should be, due to one more preseason game of uncertainty but the final game shouldn’t see any significant injuries because the starters won’t really play at all.

I know some people don’t like to play heavy money lines, but a handicapper should look at the gap between PRICE and VALUE. Would you risk 355 dollars to win 100 dollars? Most people would say NO, but what if I told you that you had a 90% chance of getting that money?

I can’t see the Patriots scoring less than 20, and I can’t see the Bill scoring more than 17.
Predicted Final Score
Buffalo 10
New England 30

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